Four dogs, 29 cats discovered in Moose Lake home of elderly pet hoarder“It was absolutely the worst case I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Licari, executive director of the Carlton County Friends of Animals organization, after being called in to the home of an elderly Moose Lake man who had allegedly been hoarding animals for an extended period of time.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
“It was absolutely the worst case I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Licari, executive director of the Carlton County Friends of Animals organization, after being called in to the home of an elderly Moose Lake man who had allegedly been hoarding animals for an extended period of time.
Licari said FOA was called in Tuesday, April 13, by a Carlton County social services worker who had gone to the home to help transition the resident to a nursing home. FOA staffers were told there were seven cats and four dogs in the home, but when Licari and Animal Control Officer Ryan Bryant showed up to check it out, they discovered 29 cats and four dogs.
Licari reported that much of the house was chest-deep in garbage and cat feces, and there was no running water or working appliances.
“The air was absolutely toxic,” said Licari, who said he and Bryant had to wear aspirators to go through the house. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
He said there were “more dead cats than live ones” in the house, and one dog was shut in a basement room with no lights or windows. Five cats were found shut in one of the upstairs bedrooms with no food or water, and there was evidence they had been gnawing on cardboard boxes and cannibalizing the bodies of six dead cats also found in the room.
Additional cats and one dog were shut in portable kennels. Licari said most of the cats were emaciated, some weighing as little as 1 ½ to 2 pounds, with some showing signs of blindness or open sores.
All of the rescued cats were in too weakened a condition to be saved. Licari said though the four dogs were too weak to stand, “They seemed happy to see us,” he reported. The dogs were brought back to the FOA shelter, given medical exams and began receiving food and medication.
“When we gave them all baths, they just laid there and tried to drink the bath water,” stated Licari.
He reported all have started to make “a remarkable recovery,” can be handled, and are already becoming socialized. They include a female Pomeranian mix, a male German shepherd, a male malamute mix and an unknown, mixed-breed male. All will soon be available for adoption. For more information, go to foaonline.org or call 218-879-1655.
No charges are pending against the home owner, who is now living in a nursing care facility.
“I suspect it’s just one of those very sad, unfortunate situations,” commented FOA President Beth Collins.
“I guess the one thing that should be learned from all of this,” added Licari, “is that all of us should keep an eye out for the welfare of our neighbors. It’s obvious that man had been living in those circumstances for a long period of time, and it just seems as though someone should have known about it and done something.”