Hoarding rescue leads to cat overcrowding at shelter

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
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Officials there are trying to find homes for more than a hundred cats.

PITMAN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Police say it was a particularly bad hoarding situation in Pitman, New Jersey, and it left the Gloucester County Animal Shelter overcrowded. Now officials there are trying to find homes for more than a hundred cats.

Almost 140 cats were rescued from a hoarder's house in Pitman last week and brought to the Gloucester County animal shelter in Clayton, where the population has exploded.

Gloucester Co. Business Administrator Chad Bruner explains, "We generally have room for about 140. We had 290 when we brought in these 100-plus cats from Pitman. We're down to about 230 now, but we're still well over capacity."

Area rescue groups have taken some of the cats, but the shelter is focused now on trying to find homes for all of the cats in their care.

Owen Sturm is Gloucester County's Animal Control Chief. He says right now the shelter is so crowded cats are being kept in dog cages.

Sturm says, "They're very stressed out. I mean, they're being stripped of the only environment they know. As the days progress they're starting to get used to it. They're seeing that the hands that are reaching for them aren't harming them."

To relieve crowding and encourage adoption, the shelter is offering reduced rates. If you adopt one of the cats taken from the Pitman hoarding house, you can get them for just $25.

There's also a two-for-one deal on all the other cats at the shelter: two cats for $95. All of the animals up for adoption have been screened by a vet, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped.

Animal Attendant Alex Fruggiero says, "The cats are the nicest according case ever. All of them are handleable. They're very freaked out."

But with daily contact, food and a clean environment, the cats - who are socialized - are coming around.

Animal control officers continue to find more of them hidden in the house on 6th Avenue in Pitman where they were cared for by a tenant. That's why the Gloucester County Animal Shelter is asking folks to adopt these cats so they don't have to spend the holidays in cages.

More ideal would be under some generous family's Christmas tree.