More than 50 cats removed from south side Indy home after electrical short

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is working to see if any of the 52 cats taken from a south side home Thursday can be rehabilitated and adopted.

An electrician called authorities Thursday after being sent to the Shelby Street home to do work after cat urine caused an electrical short.

“When I first stepped out of the vehicle you could smell the ammonia and cat spray from the street, which was probably a good 40 feet from the residence,” said Animal Control Officer Michael Bonito. “And then obviously once I got inside the residence, the amount of feces and urine that were staining the furniture and floors is what led to the decision to impound all the animals.”

Officer Bonito says this was a dangerous situation for many reasons, including the danger an electrical short can cause and also the health of the homeowner and the animals.

The 61-year-old homeowner told Officer Bonito he had 20 cats, but Officer Bonito says there were 20 cats in one room alone. A total of 52 cats were collected. Three cats ran away.

Officer Bonito says they found cats everywhere in the home. In fact, they opened an entertainment center drawer and six cats popped out. It took about four hours to collect all the animals.

The owner told FOX 59 Friday he had been taking in feral cats for 14 years and he’s heartbroken.

He surrendered the cats peacefully and is very worried about the three cats that ran away. He said the cats have not been outside since he took them in.

“The owner of the cats was very friendly and respectful,” said Officer Bonito.

Officer Bonito says the man knew the names of every single cat.

There were a dozen overflowing litter boxes inside.

The cats were well taken care of as far as food and water, but Officer Bonito said the living conditions were inexcusable.

“It was the living conditions. We did have some cats that did get brought in that had some matted hair and some other health issues, but for the most part the cats were all well fed.”

“Even though Marion County does not have a rule or law or city ordinance that dictates the number of animals that you can keep in one residence, there are only so many animals you can house in a certain area respectfully and I think for most people, 52 is a little excessive.”

If you’re interested in adopting a pet, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is running a $10 adoption special on cats and dogs thanks to grant money offsetting the rest of the cost.

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