Authorities Raid Mt. Airy Cat House
SPCA to Remove More Cats Today
By Sarah Bloomquist
MT. AIRY - March 8, 2007 - As you approach the house, you can smell the stench. The front room is packed with clutter. The blinds are shredded by cat claws. Neighbors are relieved that the SPCA took action removing some three dozen cats.
SPCA workers wore masks and biohazard suits as they removed the first of dozens of cats from inside this mount airy home.
Cecil Willis lives in the adjoining home. He said he complained to the city for years about the unbearable stench and the sound of cats fighting.
"Listen, there may be a hundred cats in there. I hear them everyday in the walls. You wouldn't believe the noise they make," said Willis.
The Willis' have spent hundreds on air fresheners, but it's not enough to keep the cat smell away. On some days, even the outside of their home is off limits.
"The smell got worse in the summer. You couldn't even sit outside on the patio," said Lithan Willis.
SPCA investigators said Robert Segal, who is in his 40's, has been living here alone ever since his father moved out.
They said family members, the city and the SPCA all tried to get in and get cats out, but Segal refused.
Finally, he was taken in for a mental evaluation and his sister called the SPCA for help removing the cats. Investigators found deplorable conditions with cats everywhere even inside the sofa and in the mattresses.
"They were running around. They were bouncing off the walls like ping pong balls. You would go after one another one would go up the side of the walls," said Gary Lovett of the SPCA.
The SPCA brought in about 35 cats for medical evaluations. They're wild, possibly diseased. Many have open sores from fighting. The SPCA will be back at the house on Friday to get the two dozen or more cats still inside.
"We'll probably foster care them out and try to rehabilitate them," said Charlene Peters of the SPCA.
That may be impossible with these cats because they are not in good condition.
The SPCA said Segal will be kept an area hospital for 120 hours and then, depending on his condition, possibly released. They have contacted Licenses and Inspections to determine if the home is suitable for living.