Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 4, 2013

50 cats found in abandoned North Tonawanda home

Niagara Gazette — Investigators removed 50 cats over two days from a ramshackle North Tonawanda home that appears to have been abandoned. 

Police were called to 155 Roncroff Drive on Friday by a concerned neighbor who said that the "smell of cats" was overwhelming. 

Members of the city's code enforcement department and officers entered the disheveled one-story, single-family house, where they discovered the animals surrounded by months of piled up feces, a flooded basement, missing sections of the roof and and the "extreme" odor of urine. 

Rusted out appliances and mold were also prevalent, and there was no heat or running water, according to building inspector Cosimo R. Capozzi.

"It's the worst that I've seen," Capozzi said of the home, while adding a similar scenario was discovered on Robinson Street in the 1990s. 

On Friday, 43 cats were removed by the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals of Niagara. Another seven, one dead, were discovered on Monday. SPCA Director Amy Lewis said she believed some of the animals may have hidden in the walls of the home to escape capture. 

Investigators were not sure if the owner of the home was also living in those conditions, though Lewis said it appeared the individual would drop off water and food for the animals. Charges may be pending, though police said they would not release the homeowner's name as the investigation continues. 

Many of the felines were found with severe flea issues, and seemed to be unsociable, indicating they are feral. Officials said one cat had a broken leg. The deceased cat was discovered entwined in the springs of a mattress, Lewis said, though they were unsure if the animal became stuck or went there to die. 

The SPCA brought all of the animals back to headquarters and will spend the next several weeks rehabilitating them through regular medical treatment, cleanings and human contact. 

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