Pontiac, MI - Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center will seek animal neglect and abuse charges against a West Bloomfield Township homeowner in the largest animal hoarding case in Oakland County history.
Animal control officers removed 178 cats from a residence in the 1700 block of Elsie Drive from April 24 to May 17. To date, 60 felines have been humanely euthanized because of severe illness or aggression.
“This is the worst animal hoarding case I have seen in my entire career,” Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center Manager Bob Gatt said. “These cats were living in deplorable conditions. They were not provided with the adequate care necessary to maintain good health.”
Many of the cats that were removed from the house were suffering from a variety of health issues including upper respiratory infections, fleas, skin infections, ear mites, and malnutrition. A number of female cats have also given birth since arriving at the shelter.
Oakland County Animal Control Officer Rachel Whitlock responded to the Elsie Drive home on the afternoon of April 24 to perform a welfare check on cats believed to be abandoned inside. Looking through the home’s windows, she spotted at least a half-dozen cats who appeared to be somewhat ill and left with no food and water in unsanitary living conditions.
After Whitlock spoke to the complainant and neighbors, she obtained a search warrant to remove the cats from the home which she and a supervisor executed that evening with the assistance of the West Bloomfield Police Department. When they entered the house, however, they discovered at least 100 cats.
Additional animal control officers and staff were called to the home that night to assist with removing cats. By 2 a.m. April 25, Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center had removed 63 cats from the home. Later that day, the shelter obtained an additional search warrant to continue removing cats from the home. Michigan Humane Society investigators responded to the scene and helped remove an additional 15 cats.
On April 26, Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center reached the homeowner who then relinquished ownership of all the cats inside the home to the shelter. She also consented to the shelter continuing to enter the Elsie Drive residence for the sole purpose of removing the remaining cats. No additional cats were collected at that time because of lack of space at the shelter. They were, however, provided food and water.
Over the following weeks through May 17, 100 more cats were removed from the home as space and resources at Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center allowed. As of May 17, there appeared to be no cats left inside the home. Out of an abundance of caution, animal control officers set additional traps on May 20 in case there are any other cats hiding in the home.
“On behalf of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, I want to commend the staff at the Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center and our partners at the Michigan Humane Society for a job well done,” Oakland County Public Services Director Mark Newman said. “This case stretched our resources but it never stretched our resolve to work together to bring the case to a proper conclusion.”
The Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center will turn the case over to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office who will determine what charges, if any, are warranted.
For more information about the cats that were rescued from the Elsie Drive home and when some may be available for adoption, contact OakGov.com/PetAdoption or call 248-858-1070.
About Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center
Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center, under the leadership of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, offers housing and medical care to more than 4,000 animals on an annual basis. It also is the public agency charged with enforcement of Michigan’s Dog Law of 1919. It is responsible for complete animal control services in 45 Oakland County communities. The Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center strives to continually improve its save and adoption rates. Staff work toward this goal by educating Oakland County residents about responsible pet ownership, partnering with local 501(c)(3) rescues to help place more animals into loving homes, and participating in nine satellite pet adoption outreach centers.