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Extreme cat hoarding case occurred in a Town of Oconomowoc home, barn

Fifty of 144 have been saved; now at Waukesha's Humane Society

March 21, 2013

The 144 cats that were found in the extreme hoarding case last week came from a Town of Oconomowoc residence and barn, police logs indicate.

Lynn Olenik, executive director of the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, said that while 50 have been saved from the property at W390 N9275 Pennsylvania St., 94 could not.

Olenik said the Humane Society got a call from Waukesha County Humane Officers, a separate branch that works for Waukesha County’s Parks and Land Use, after it had received a complaint.

When they got to the scene, it wasn’t pretty.

Olenik said most of the cats, which were found in the house and in the nearby barn, were sick and in grave condition. Many were dehydrated, others were very thin from not being fed and most had infections as some were covered in feces.

“It was horrendous,” Olenik said. “The sanitation wasn’t kept up with a lot of deceased animals on the property.”

As a result of the dire conditions many were in, Olenik said euthanizing the cats “was the best we could do for them.”

The remaining cats will survive, Olenik said, with six of the 50 having already been placed on the adoption floor at the Humane Society, 701 Northview Road.

However, the other 44 cats will have to wait until they are healthy enough and receive the appropriate shots.

“I think what happened is the owner kept it up for a while and then it got out of control and too much,” Olenik said.

Olenik said if cats are not neutered they can produce up to 15 in a year, something that happened in this case.

She added this is the fourth case in the last 10 years that the Humane Society has been involved in a hoarding incident with such magnitude.

One included rescuing more than 190 cats from a Town of Ottawa property and the others included large amounts of parrots and reptiles from properties in Waukesha County.

This latest example shows the seriousness of hoarding of any kind, Olenik said.

“What we’re hoping to get out of this is that family members or friends learn to intervene and call social services right away,” Olenik said. “That way more lives can be saved.”

Lt. Kristen Wraalstad, of the Town of Oconomowoc Police Department, agreed.

“They can always call if they see or suspect anything going on like this,” Wraalstad said. “They can call law enforcement or call the humane society, who will always investigate calls like this."

Olenik said the owner was cooperative in turning over the cats and that it is up to the Humane Officers if charges will be filed.

“They may ask us for assistance, in which case we’ll step in, but to my knowledge there’s been nothing sent to us,” Wraalstad said.

Sarah Ward, Waukesha County environmental health manager, said the case is still under investigation.

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