VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Authorities say they’ve never seen an animal abuse case like the one they found in Vacaville, where 100 cats were found in filthy conditions.
Animal control started investigation the case after neighbors complained about a horrible smell. Those neighbors say the house has been a problem for years.
Katherine Gerrard spoke to CBS13 through her door on Monday.
“All the cats are healthy and they’re fine,” said the self-described cat activist. “They were being transported somewhere.”
She claims she was planning to take the 100 cats to shelters. Instead, they’re being held as evidence by animal control after officers lined her block and spent an entire day removing them.
The seizure followed months of neighbor complaints about the smell the large number of cats made on the small property.
Luke Curry lives next door and says the foul feline smell was overwhelming.
“We couldn’t open the windows to the house,” he said. “It was a major, and still is a major problem.”
Animal services officer Mark Schwarz served the warrant to seize the cats.
“Her belief is that she was doing the right thing,” he said
He described the inside of the home-turned zoo, with litter boxes abound. He used a mask to breathe inside, unable to handle what Gerrard apparently lived in every day.
“When we talked with her, she basically said that she couldn’t smell anything, and nothing was wrong,” he said.
Outside the home, the cat smell is still strong, even with the animals gone.
Gerrard says the cats only started spraying when officers arrived.
“It smells because the cats were scared to death, and they urinated everywhere,” she said.
It’s an extreme case of animal hoarding where 100 cats lived in a home with a cat lover who insists she did nothing wrong.
“I was the one that saved them,” she said.