The 44 cats and eight dogs found at an Apison home Wednesday afternoon made up a "classic example of hoarding," according to Guy Bilyeu, Executive Director of the Humane Educational Society of Hamilton County, which rescued the animals.
The interior of the home was littered with feces, and wallpaper was peeling off the walls. Cats were roaming freely, Bilyeu said. In the backyard was an overgrown pen containing several doghouses, where the dogs were found.
At least three more cats remain at the house, until Humane Society workers determine the best way to catch them.
The couple living at the home had both been recently checked into separate mental health facilities, Bilyeu said. Their son, who lives in Seattle, approached the Humane Society saying he didn't know what to do about the animals.
"He's obviously distraught about this, but he did the best possible thing," Bilyeu explained. "We could have cited them with all kinds of charges, but because he called us and released them over to us we won't have to do any of that. Fortunately, in this case we can just focus on the animals."
The son helped Humane Society workers with the removal, renting an air conditioned U-Haul truck to transport some of the cats and donating money to help with their recovery. He declined to talk with the Times Free Press about the matter.
See Thursday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.