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BC Police see increase in animal hoarding cases
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Battle Creek Police are seeing a sharp increase in animal hoarding cases.
Tuesday, more than 20 animals were rescued from a home in the 100 block of Kingman Avenue.
Police say the cats were covered in flees, malnourished and one dog even had a horrendous abscess on its face.
Battle Creek Police say the smell was so foul coming from the home, they had to investigate what was inside.
"Animal feces throughout the house, and in the basement," said Sgt. Marc Pierce with the Battle Creek Police Department.
Police also found a rabbit, 18 cats, and two dogs.
They were taken to the Calhoun County Animal Shelter where the vet looked them over Wednesday due to severe neglect.
"The ear mites are a serious problem because many of the cat's ear canals are almost totally full. The cats also had a lot of flea infestation to the point they were scratching themselves and causing scabs," said Cynthia Buford, the CEO of the Calhoun County Animal Shelter.
The vet also discovered a rescued Huskie mix has severe hip dysplasia, and a poor pug named Junior has an abscessed face due to a tumor.
"Very serious neglect, very serious neglect, I felt very sorry for him," said Buford.
Battle Creek Police tell us this is the second major hoarding case they've had in two months, nothing short of an epidemic.
"A few weeks ago we had another house with 28 cats in it and two guinea pigs," said Sgt. Pierce.
The cases have stressed the police department, and drained the shelter's financial resources.
These animals alone will cost nearly $5,000 in food and medical expenses.
"Very alarming, and we are hoping it's not a precedent for the rest of the year," said Buford.
The city has now condemned the home, and police say they'll be seeking animal cruelty charges against the owner.
"We consider it cruelty, and we take cruelty very seriously," said Sgt. Pierce.
Newschannel 3 talked to the owner Wednesday, who was very emotional over what happened.
She says she had a habit of taking in strays, and became overwhelmed after falling on hard times and medical problems.
She declined to go on camera, but says she hopes she'll at least be able to take a few animals back home with her.
Next week, a new Battle Creek city ordinance will go into effect.
If a stray animal is brought to the shelter the first time, the owner will pay a fine.
The second time it happens, the owner will have to pay a $100 fee, which can be used towards spaying or neutering.
For the third offense, the owner has no choice But to pay to have their pet spayed or neutered.