Fifty cats, two dogs and a horse removed from hoarder allegedly keeping animals in horrible conditions

FREE STATE – The Bloemfontein SPCA say they have removed 53 animals including 50 cats, two dogs and a very abused horse from a hoarder who allegedly kept the animals in a terrible, sad and filthy circumstances.

Duán Matthee, an inspector at the Bloemfontein SPCA says: “When we arrived at the property where the animals were kept, we met the owner and asked him if we could see the cats. The owner took us to a tiny one-bedroom type of house. While approaching, we noticed a strong smell emanating from the house. To us, this was already a red flag. When we entered the house, a strong ammonia smell suddenly hit us. We could barely breathe.”

She says: “Cats were running everywhere inside the small house. The cats’ living conditions were shocking. It was unimaginable how they could still breathe in these circumstances. The cat-boxes were full of faeces. The cats used their faeces as sand to urinate or defecate.”

“As we walked through the house, we noticed a dead cat laying on a bed among other cats. “It was shocking to see 50 cats living in such a small area. They had to see one of them die and still had to sleep next to his lifeless body,” says inspector Matthee.

“We examined the cats and noticed that they are matted and dirty. To us, this indicated that the cats were depressed. Cats are clean and proud animals that regularly groom themselves. Instead, these cats had faeces on them. “The smell was horrible! With every step that I took, I noticed urine marks and faeces laying around. The dead cat shocked me the most. And to think that the owner didn’t even know that there was a dead cat,” she says.

Upon further inspection of the house, inspectors noticed that there was no water and no ventilation for these cats. Inspector Matthee says: “The cats could not move around freely and appeared to be trapped inside the small house.”

“We spoke nicely to the owner about the living conditions of the cats and their health. The cats were sick. The cats had snuffles, cancer lumps, and respiratory problems. However, the owner was adamant that there was nothing wrong and that they will keep the cats like that. We found this concerning. We feared that things would get worse by the day. We decided that we had to step in. We worked quickly to get a court order to remove the animals and take them to a veterinarian,” she says.

“While we were busy removing the cats, we also went to the main house of the property. We noticed that there were also dogs and cats inside. When we asked to see the animals, they told us that there were none. However, while inspecting the whole property, we came across the domestic worker hiding with the owner’s dogs and a cat in a small storage room,” says inspector Matthee.

She says: “We also found a horse on the property which was in an equally bad state. He had a cancerous abscess in his ear, his hoofs were in a bad condition and he was full of ticks and fleas. Someone had offered to help the owner in the past with a veterinarian for the horse, but apparently the owner had refused the help. The stable that they used for the horse consisted of steel plates and there were dangerous wires everywhere. There were faeces inside it and that there was no horse feed found. The living conditions of this horse was unacceptable.”

“The animals were taken to the SPCA to be checked by a veterinarian and what we found was shocking. The cats had ulcers inside their mouths, snuffles, kidney problems, and other medical conditions. “These cats suffered at the hands of the owners. There are no other words for it. And to think that these cats had severe transmittable diseases and that the owners said that it was nothing is alarming.” says inspector Matthee.

She says they are in the process of opening a case of animal cruelty against the owners of these cats.

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