Tippy gets some love from Officer Rachel Whitlock, of Oakland County  Animal Control. She rescued Tippy and 177 other cats from a hoard  in West Bloomfield this month.

Tippy gets some love from Officer Rachel Whitlock, of Oakland County Animal Control. She rescued Tippy and 177 other cats from a hoard in West Bloomfield this month.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Charges possible for homeowner in cat hoarding case

178 cats removed from home

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 24, 2019

 This long-haired cat, named Lays Wavy by shelter staff, scratched and scarred his ears while suffering from ear mites before he was rescued.

This long-haired cat, named Lays Wavy by shelter staff, scratched and scarred his ears while suffering from ear mites before he was rescued.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 This cat, one of 178 that were rescued from a hoarding situation at a home in West Bloomfield earlier this month, remains in the care of the Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

This cat, one of 178 that were rescued from a hoarding situation at a home in West Bloomfield earlier this month, remains in the care of the Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Final veterinary reports for nearly 200 cats taken from a West Bloomfield home will determine what types of charges the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office may file following a hoarding situation discovered several weeks ago.

According to reports, Oakland County’s Animal Control Office was tipped off to a potential case of animal neglect at a home in the 1700 block of Elsie Drive April 24. Officer Rachel Whitlock was the officer assigned to the case, and she said she knew as soon as she arrived and looked in the home’s front windows that there were cats inside living in poor conditions.

But it wasn’t until further investigation that she learned just how bad those conditions were.

“We initially got a welfare call about six cats. You could just see inside that it was unsanitary, but I didn’t know how many cats were in there,” she said.

From that first visit through mid-May, 178 cats were removed from the residence, suffering from a variety of health issues, including upper respiratory infections, fleas, skin infections, ear mites and malnutrition.

“This is the worst animal hoarding case I have seen in my entire career,” Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center Manager Bob Gatt said in a press release. “These cats were living in deplorable conditions. They were not provided with the adequate care necessary to maintain good health.”

To date, 60 of the cats have been euthanized because of severe illness or aggression.

But that means there are more than 100 cats that are still being cared for at the Pontiac shelter — not counting the kittens that have been born to some of the rescued cats. There’s still plenty of hope, Whitlock said, that those cats can find safe new homes.

“Fifteen of them have been adopted already. A lot of them are vocal and come right up to the front of the cage, and some of them are more shy and take a little while to warm up to people,” she explained.

The county animal shelter will seek animal neglect and abuse charges against the West Bloomfield homeowner, but that is ultimately up to the county prosecutor.

“We’re waiting to get the full vet reports, but Michigan law definitely backs us up in these kinds of situations,” Whitlock said.

To see all of the adoptable pets available at the adoption center, visit oakgov.com/petadoption.

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