BC SPCA officers in Cowichan call it a one of the “saddest and most disturbing cases of animal hoarding” they have ever witnessed. On April 18, the SPCA took 49 cats into care from the home of an elderly couple in Cobble Hill. The elderly male had fallen and has since died in hospital and his wife is now being treated for dementia in a care facility and is not expected to return home.
“I’ve responded to hoarding cases before, but I’ve never experienced anything so disturbing,” said Sandi Trent, manager of the Cowichan & District SPCA Branch. “How this poor couple and all of these cats survived in the extreme filth and stench of that home is incomprehensible. There were massive piles of cat feces everywhere and the kitchen sink had backed up and flooded the rooms, adding to the unbearable odor.”
BC SPCA special constable Dale Bakken, lead investigator for the case, says no charges of animal cruelty are pending. “It’s just a very sad situation all around and our primary concern now is to make sure the cats are taken care of and will find new, loving homes.” He notes that the 49 cats, now in care at the Cowichan & District SPCA Branch in Duncan and the Victoria SPCA Branch, are in remarkably good condition given their ordeal.
“The cats are very thin and frightened, but they are definitely approachable and adoptable,” he says. “One of our challenges is that all of the cats are black or black with white markings and traditionally black cats take longer to adopt than their lighter coloured counterparts. We’re hoping that people will have compassion for these poor cats and will come forward to provide a loving home for them as soon as possible.”
Following a mandatory 14-day waiting period for seized animals, the cats will be available for adoption during the first week of May at the Cowichan SPCA at 7550 Bell-McKinnon Road in Duncan (250-746-4646) and at the Victoria SPCA at 3150 Napier Lane (250-388-7722).
The BC SPCA conducts more than 7,000 cruelty investigations each year and is reliant on donations from the public to continue its work. To find out how you can help, please visit spca.bc.ca/support.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.