The Niagara County SPCA got help from the county Health Department after cases of cat neglect and hoarding were discovered in Newfane and Lockport on Wednesday.
In Newfane, a cat was found blinded by oozing sores and near death, while others had been dumped in a field to avoid prosecution, according to Niagara County SPCA Director Amy Lewis. Two dozens cats were seized.
Meanwhile, 50 or more cats are being trapped and removed from a house on Beverly Avenue in Lockport, prompting action by the Niagara County Health Department.
Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton and County Director of Emergency Preparedness Elaine Roman said one of two climate-controlled trailers equipped with 100 cages – purchased with $60,000 in homeland security funding – is being used by the SPCA to provide temporary housing for the cats.
Lewis, who noted the SPCA was already facing overcrowding, said the cats in Newfane were abused and neglected. However, she called the Lockport case an example of hoarding – there was so much clutter that authorities had to climb over things. She added that the estimated 50 cats are hiding in tunnels created throughout the clutter. The older woman who lives there is not expected to be charged.
Lockport police were alerted to the Beverly Avenue case Tuesday afternoon, after the woman had been missing from work for several days. They found her on her floor unconscious, and she is currently hospitalized in intensive care, authorities said.
The conditions on Beverly Avenue, including a large amount of feces and infestation of fleas, led to the house being condemned by Lockport Building Inspector Jason C. Dool.
“I think this is was an accumulation over the years and failure to maintain the residence like most people do,” Dool said. “There’s boxes in there, furniture – clothes on top of the furniture. Definitely a lot of debris, that’s for sure.”
In the Newfane case, charges of neglect are expected to be filed against a woman who owned the two dozen cats.
The SPCA received a neglect report Tuesday about the cats in a trailer on Applewood Drive in the Niagara Mobile Home Park.
When the SPCA and Niagara County sheriff’s deputies visited the trailer Wednesday, the cats had been removed to a home on Prospect Street in Lockport and others dumped in a field off Drake Settlement Road, near Transit Road in Newfane.