Authorities were surprised to a discover that a New York couple had died in their home surrounded by nearly 150 cats.
Police have not released the names of the couple, who were in their 50s. They were found together in a bedroom in their Briarcliff Manor, New York, home and police do not believe foul play was involved, WCBS reported.
Neighbor Patti Pfeifer told WCBS, that the case was “very sad, very puzzling. It’s a mystery.”
Police were called to the house on Monday when they were asked to do a wellness check and that’s when they found the couple, WABC reported.
Due to the fact that there were nearly 150 cats inside, police were not able to investigate further, so their cause of death is still under investigation, according to WABC.
“Our officers were able to put hazmat suits on to make entry into the house and subsequently located two bodies in a back bedroom,” Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble told News 12 Westchester.
Animal control was called in to remove the animals.
It took several hours to remove the first 90 cats that were then given to several animal rescue organizations, News 12 reported.
Normally in an animal hoarding case, the animals are not well socialized, but that was not the case here.
“It’s very unusual in a case like this, especially with that number of cats, for them to be as social and sweet as they are, usually they are scared when they come from a situation like this because they haven’t had a lot of human interaction,” Lisa Bonnano from the SPCA of Westchester told WABC.
The cats were affectionate and were looking for attention.
“The people that lived there, I think their intentions were good, that they tried to care for the cats. But they had to have been overwhelmed,” Noble told WCBS.
Many of the cats were unwell with upper respiratory infections, untreated eye infections that left the cats blind and ear mites, WCBS and WABC reported.
Officers removed about 100 cats from the home. About 50 animals were were left there and are being fed by volunteers because shelters are overwhelmed.
It will be expensive to care for all of the animals and get them nursed back to health.
The SPCA said it could cost up to $40,000 when it is all said and done, but that some of the cats will be up for adoption next week, WCBS reported.
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