Video only on 10: Cats living in squalor at abandoned Pawtucket house
Authorities stormed a home on Bloomingdale Avenue in Pawtucket Tuesday to save endangered cats.
Only NBC 10 News cameras were recording as members of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided the abandoned, foreclosed house as part of a hoarding investigation.
RISPCA officials removed several cats that were left behind in deplorable conditions.
“It usually starts out with one or two,” said RISPCA Humane Officer Joe Warzycha, who said the home is “in complete disarray.”
A complaint led RISPCA officers to the house, which humane society members said they've been to in years past. They’ve already rescued approximately three dozen endangered cats there.
“I've seen it way too many times,” said Warzycha, noting that it’s unclear how many cats were abandoned this time.
“It's more about the conditions then it is the numbers,” Warzycha went on to say, explaining what makes a situation “hoarding.”
There were so many items inside the crowded home that RISPCA officers and volunteers could barely get through to find the felines.
Neighbors told NBC 10 off-camera that they thought there was at least one new litter of kittens somewhere in the backyard.
“(It’s) very difficult to walk, move around,” said Warzycha.
There were at least a dozen cats around the property. As the officers looked around, they were taking in the smell, every step of the way.
“There’s cat feces on the ground,” said Warzycha.
There was also cat urine everywhere. The home smelled like a giant litter box.
“(It’s) very unsanitary,” said Warzycha.
Meanwhile, the owner of the home is gone.
“I would say (it’s) inhabitable for humans, as well as animals,” said Warzycha.
The owner, who left the home at least a few weeks ago, faces a list of charges, including animal abandonment, as well as other charges for not providing food and water to the cats for more than 24 hours.
“There's no excuse for abandoning animals,” said Warzycha. “We understand that people fall into unfortunate situations, but if you're leaving and can't take your pets with you, call your local animal control, Rhode Island SPCA.”
Along with the RISPCA, volunteers from the Paaws RI shelter brought a handful of cats out of the house. Maureen "Mocca" Provence of Paaws RI described the inside as “a nightmare.”
“It's disgusting. It's nasty. All you smell is urine and feces,” she said. “There's dirt on the walls, feces on the walls. Urine on the walls. No food or nothing.”
Others shared similar sentiments, noting that the cats were infested with ear mites, fleas, and suffered from upper respiratory infections.
They first visited the home on Monday to find a cat locked in a car. After two days, they aren't finished, as they said they believe there are more cats hiding inside. They left humane traps in hopes of helping more.
“They're hopefully all going be on the road to recovery now,” Provence said.
RISPCA left the home during the late afternoon and expects to return as some point on Wednesday.