Hoarding couple found dead surrounded by 150 starving cats in their dilapidated Westchester home 

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A hoarding couple have been found dead inside their ‘dilapidated’ New York home surrounded by 150 starving cats – with some of the sick animals found in ceilings and walls.

The pets were found all over the Westchester County home with infections, malnutrition and dehydration, while others were already dead.

The owners – who have not been named – were also found dead in the house on Cordial Road by police after a wellness visit on Monday 30 January.

The SPCA said: ‘Officials were unable to clear the scene until our rescue team removed most of the cats, who were found everywhere including the walls and ceilings.

‘After years of neglect, all of the cats […] are sick and suffering with upper respiratory, eye and skin infections, malnutrition, dehydration, and sadly, some have more severe injuries that require immediate medical attention.’

Hoarding couple found dead surrounded by 150 starving cats in their dilapidated Westchester home 

150 cats were reportedly found starving and sick at a house in Westchester County, New York

The cats, mostly Abyssinian mixes, were said to be ‘trapped in every room of the home, including the walls and ceilings’. 

Police reported that they had likely not eaten or had access to food for days.

Many were pregnant and all had sickness from malnutrition and living in cramped, dirty conditions.

The cats were taken to a local charity to be looked after and ultimately rehomed

The cats were taken to a local charity to be looked after and ultimately rehomed

The SPCA said it was the largest rescue mission in their history.

The charity has existed since 1883.

The charity is a ‘no-kill’ rescue center, caring for and rehoming animals – however long it takes.

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The charity said on Twitter: ‘This week we undertook our largest rescue ever. 

‘Our Humane Law Enforcement Unit assisted the Yorktown Heights police at a horrific scene where 150 cats were discovered living in squalor inside a small, dilapidated home.’

The charity added: ‘Due to the stress of the situation, one of the cats actually gave birth while in transit to the SPCA’s Rescue Center, and many others appear to be pregnant. 

‘All of the cats were starving upon rescue and had likely not eaten or had access to water in many days.

‘Our newest rescues desperately need your support. Even after all that they’ve been through, the cats are incredibly sweet and just want to be loved. 

‘A gift at any level will support their veterinary care and rehabilitation, which we anticipate will cost well over $40,000.’

Rescue partners from Best Friends Animal Society, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, Westchester Humane Society, Rescue Right and Columbia Green Humane Society have also stepped up to help the SPCA with this massive rescue effort. 

Police found the cats in the walls and ceilings after visiting the house for a wellness check

Police found the cats in the walls and ceilings after visiting the house for a wellness check

Shannon Laukhuf, Executive Director at SPCA, said: ‘This is the largest hoarding case SPCA Westchester has ever undertaken, and we desperately need the support of the community to help care for these neglected and sick cats who need urgent medical attention.’

The charity welcomes any financial support, as well as donations of cat food, litter, blankets and towels to support the rescue effort. 

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You can donate to the charity here

Reports of animals euthanized in the United States show a gradually declining trend, but estimate around 25% of animals entering shelters will be put down. 

Nine in ten euthanized animals are adoptable.

About 1.4mn shelter animals are euthanized annually, down from 15mn in 1970.

One of the most common reported reasons is ‘economic euthanasia’, where shelters lack the funds to continue caring for animals indefinitely.

Just over a third of animals are reportedly put down due to financial constraints. 



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