The Day – Dozens of cats rescued from Waterford house

Waterford – More than 40 cats have been removed from an elderly couple’s home, according to police and the city’s animal control officer.

Robert Yuchniuk, animal control officer for Lyme in Waterford-East, said he and others became aware of the problem because one of the cats was stuck in a tree in a social media post. The cat came from the elderly couple’s house. Comments on social media suggested that many cats have been home and may not be receiving proper care.

Yuchniuk said he went inside on Wednesday, spoke to the couple, and determined that the best course of action for the cats is to get them out of the house.

“There were way too many for me, we have eight cat cages in our shelter that we share with New London. I cannot take in 43 cats, ”said Yuchniuk. “To make sure this story had a happy ending, I reached out to rescue groups and Paws Cat Shelter CT agreed to take all cats with invisible eyes. They didn’t know if they were nasty wild cats or nice lap cats, so we give them all credit. ”

Paws posted about the cats on his Facebook page on Friday.

“We agreed to take the lead in removing all cats from the house and see if we could get help rescuing them after the cats were safe,” the post said. “In these situations there are always more cats than you think. The family was a lovely family who took great care of their cats, they fed them very well, but things were just getting out of hand. The cats needed medical care and the resources weren’t there. ”

Bouvier Insurance, a company with multiple locations in Connecticut, also helped get the cats out of the house. Yuchniuk said his wife worked there and when he called her for help, she brought additional volunteers with her.

Paws said the cats would now receive medical assistance, including surgery for eye and ear problems, neutering, neutering and vaccination. Some of the cats suffered from conditions such as respiratory diseases and other types of infections.

“Our team worked 14 hours to remove these cats, have them examined by a veterinarian and set them up for further care,” the post said. “Our biggest expense will be dentists who need 10 or more. For now, it’s all.” They are all very social and nice, and our volunteers love them. Our goal is to make sure they are getting the care they need before they go home forever. ”

Paws is fundraising for medical care for cats and has received more than $ 2,000 in donations to date.

Some of the cats also had fighting injuries. Yuchniuk noted that “You have a couple of uncastrated male cats in one house and they will end up being scrapped.” But the officers learned that the cats were well fed and that none were wild.

“It’s obvious that the family really took care of these cats, they just got over their heads,” said Yuchniuk. “There were too many.”

None of the cats are euthanized.

Police Chief Brett Mahoney said the couple would not be charged. He declined to identify the couple or where they live.

“We bring cases that we believe can be prosecuted and we do not believe that it is possible,” he said. “Our main concern is the health and safety of people and animals.”

Mahoney told the Cat in the Tree social media post that police went to the elderly couple’s home a few weeks ago to check their wellbeing.

Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control has been in contact with the elderly couple and their family and intends to take action so that the couple can eventually have a cat instead of the 43.

Yuchniuk is organizing an action to get the city to bring a dumpster onto the older couple’s property so they can clean up the property sometime in the first few weeks of March. He is looking for volunteers for the company.

“As you can imagine, in a hoarding situation, they not only hoarded cats, they hoarded things as well. So they agreed that we could help them because obviously a couple in their eighties won’t fill a dumpster, “Yuchniuk said.” This is a story that could have been very bad, and it turned out to be pretty decent. We show the good side of humanity – everyone wants the best for the cats and the best for the family. People are on the rise and want to come out in a few weeks and help clean up. “

s.spinella@theday.com