Tucked into a back office at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service’s building in Spokane Valley are about a dozen large, black-wire cages. Inside are 43 pairs of glowing eyes. The smell of urine and feces is overpowering.
“They wanted to have a lot of cats,” said Ashley Proszek, SCRAPS’ field operations manager, as she held a particularly dirty, but playful, long-haired orange tabby. “I guess.”
The cat – along with 42 others – was rescued Monday by SCRAPS workers from a home in west Spokane Valley after a neighbor called to complain of an excessive amount of felines kept in horrible conditions.
While she wouldn’t disclose the address, Proszek said workers were able to obtain a cruelty warrant before entering the home and seizing the cats. What they found was that many were underweight, ill and in need of baths as they were living in their own filth.
“We tried to speak with the property owner, but they were not willing to work with us,” Proszek said. “First glance at the environments they were living in and their current conditions, there will likely be criminal charges coming.”
All of the cats were locked away in the same black cages that are now in the SCRAPS office, which was cleared to make room for the new haul.
Many of them appeared scared or uninterested in people Tuesday afternoon.
“She’s super sweet,” said Proszek, referring to a black and white short-haired cat rubbing her face up against a metal cage.
Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said a deputy assisted SCRAPS during the seizure. No arrests were made.
Once a vet sees all of the felines, they’ll go through an evaluation process to see how adoptable they are. From there, it depends on whether the owner petitions to have the cats returned – they have 15 days to file before the animals are officially county property.
Proszek said since the agency posted the seizure on Facebook, it’s had an influx of people interested in adoption. Instead, she asked that people offer donations of food and litter, which can be dropped off at the agency’s front door at 6815 E. Trent Ave. after hours.
Throughout the years, SCRAPS typically receives and catches more cats than it can adopt out. In many cases, the animals are transported to local and regional shelters in Seattle and other major cities.
Because of the warmer-than-average weather in January, Proszek said, “kitten season” has already begun.
“That has definitely increased our intake,” she said. “The need for foster homes is definitely high.”
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