74 cats rescued from Mandarin home in animal hoarding investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) reports its officers rescued 74 cats from an elderly man’s home in Mandarin.

”That’s crazy. I wasn’t sure how many there were but whenever you told me, that’s like, those poor cats,” Pamela Kaufman said when she learned the news of what happened a few doors down.

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Neighbors told Action News Jax the owner is a nice, older gentleman. According to ACPS, a friend of his made the report Saturday.

In a report by ACPS, an officer said the owner was “glad to see me because he was in need of some help.”

The officer said he found one decomposed cat in the house. Others appeared to be thin and covered in feces, some reportedly had cloudy eyes filled with discharge. Another cat had a hernia.

The report also showed pictures of unlivable conditions. The officer noted piles of feces and the smell of urine.

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The Jacksonville Humane Society tells Action News Jax it will be getting some of the cats after they receive veterinary care.

”Generally these cases start when someone had a big heart for these animals,” Lindsay Layendecker with the Jacksonville Humane Society said.

She says there is help out there. The Humane Society’s Pet Safety Net Program aims to keep people and pets together.

”It’s a program to help families. It could be as simple as they just need a bag of food,” she said, adding, “They need veterinary care. There are lots of different ways that we can help.”

Layendecker says if you need help, all you have to do is ask. The Humane Society doesn’t have a number of how many animals come from hoarding cases; Layendecker says such cases are definitely out of the norm.

Kaufman says her neighbor is doing the right thing by cooperating and getting the help he needs.

”Hopefully the charges, if any that may be brought up against him, won’t be too severe,” she said.

The ACPS report said the officer issued several warnings. ACPS also says the owner was allowed to keep three cats.

According to the ACPS, 64 of the cats will remain under its care while 10 cats are being taken to the Jacksonville Humane Society. All of the cats have gotten a medical exam and flea medication. They have also been vaccinated and de-wormed.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, animal hoarding is a complex topic that covers mental health, animal welfare and public safety.

It is unknown at this time if the homeowner will face criminal charges, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that in most cases, criminal prosecution of animal hoarding can be a difficult process and may not be the most effective route, since hoarders are often emotionally troubled rather than criminally inclined.

The report states the homeowner requested assistance finding a mental health professional.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.