MATHER, Pa (KDKA) - Dozens of cats were removed from a home in Greene County on Thursday.
Carriers full of cats were taken from the garage of the house in Mather. According to neighbors, conditions inside the house were so repulsive that many spent the summer months locked inside their homes to escape the smell.
A humane officer said they were still counting the cats and said there could be as many as 100. Many of them were dehydrated and suffering from skin conditions from fleas.
"It's not good for anybody. We are being held hostage in our own houses during the summer. It's worse than horse barns at the fairgrounds and it's hard for people to understand that," said neighbor Deneen Rhodes.
Wearing full protective gear, humane officers from Teddy Bear Care had to take breaks after entering the home on 5th and Short streets while investigating complaints its office has been receiving since July.
Human Police Officer Robin Leighty told KDKA, "The floor is covered with feces and urine. You have to watch because you'll slide."
Beverly Vattaglia, who owns the home, told KDKA, "It's just not fair for people to do this to me. I didn't need this burden. I'm a widow. I have five kids. I have enough burdens."
The owner claims people have been dumping the cats on her property since 2018. She said she reached out to numerous agencies for help and posted online adoption ads for the cats, but nothing worked.
"It's destroyed my budget. It's ruined my house. I can't spend time with my family," Vattaglia said.
Vattaglia said she recently got run over by a car and can't physically tend to the pets.
According to humane officers, charges are being considered against the owner.
None of the cats appeared to be near-death. The animals will be quarantined for 10 days for infectious diseases, but nursing them back to health is going to be a serious task, maybe even impossible as things stand right now.
For more information about how to help, you can reach out to TBC at 724-998-6491.
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