Nearly 30 sickly kitties were rescued from a Brighton Beach “hoarder house” on April 28 — but are now on the mend and ready to be adopted.
An American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals intervention team — which assists law enforcement agents with animal hoarding cases — was sent to the Brighton Beach Avenue home last Thursday after receiving an anonymous complaint that several dozen cats were being kept in one apartment.
“Some may need medical attention,” the caller said.
When agents arrived, they found 29 cats scampering over each other in the small flat, although most of them appeared to be in good health, explained Joe Pentangelo of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team.
“Some of the cats had urinary tract infections, some had ear mites or dental disease, but all of the problems were addressable,” said Pentangelo, adding that a handful of the animals tested positive for the feline immunodeficiency virus which, if not properly treated, could result in full-blown feline AIDS.
The cats’ caretaker, a woman in her 40s, had managed to keep on top of her pride of felines, making sure they were fed. She also made sure the litter boxes — and there were plenty of them — were cleaned out regularly, Pentangelo explained.
“This was not a criminal case,” he said.
Yet the woman admitted that she had a dozen too many pets and agreed to give the cats up — kicking off a kitty caravan that stunned neighbors.
“There were three ASPCA trucks parked outside and the cats just kept coming and coming and coming,” Pat Singer, the founder of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, said. Her office is just down the block from the apartment building. “They just kept bringing them out. I never saw anything like it in the 34 years I’ve been here.”
Attempts to reach the pet owner — who was not criminally charged — were unsuccessful, but residents of the building said they never realized that there were so many cats in the woman’s apartment.
Pentangelo was glad that his team could step in before things had gotten worse. Earlier this year, for example, two silkscreen artists were arrested for keeping close to 100 cats in their Williamsburg loft. The fetid conditions were so deplorable that the cats actually fell through the urine-soaked floor.
“Like many people, this woman was well intentioned, but she found herself overwhelmed,” Pentangelo said. The felines were sent to three different animal hospitals, where they were treated and put up for adoption.
The lion’s share of the kitties were sent to the One Love Animal Hospital on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, where Dr. Ken Humphreys said the animals were more shaken up by the trip than anything else.
“I’m just glad we caught up with these cats before they really needed help,” he said.
Anyone wishing to adopt these cats can contact the One Love Animal Hospital [317 Atlantic Ave. between Smith and Hoyt streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 532-7410].