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42 cats euthanized after being seized from Holly Springs home

Posted October 15, 2013

— Police and Wake County animal control officers seized dozens of sick and feral cats from a Holly Springs home last week, according to an Oct. 10 search warrant released Monday.

Police conducting a well-being check at 405 N. Main St. on Oct. 3 smelled a foul odor coming from inside the home and noticed vultures all around the outside of the house.

No one was home, but officers noticed several cats inside the home with feces everywhere and an overwhelming smell of ammonia.

Authorities were able to obtain a search warrant and removed 42 cats.

Jennifer Federico, director of the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, said the animals had to be euthanized, partly because of their conditions and because the shelter does not adopt out feral animals.

"They are not in homes, because they are not acclimated to people," Federico said. "It's as if you have a raccoon in your house."

Police said Tuesday that charges are pending against Teresa Underwood, who's lived at the home since 1972.

Underwood admitted to living with the cats and said she began taking them in after she saw a vulture hurt a kitten.

"No animals have been abused," she said, adding that she was planning on moving them to the country and beginning a cat rescue on property she owns.

"I had the cats inside. I probably shouldn't have," she said.

Holly Springs police detective Michael Stone said the house is unlivable and in the process of being condemned and that a hazmat crew had to be called to the home before the cats could be seized.

"The smell of the ammonia from all of that in there was so overwhelming that they had to leave before it started affecting their health," Stone said.

Underwood, he said, is now staying with a relative.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • davidgnews Oct 22, 2013

    Animals living in squalor is abuse, period. There are so many things wrong with this scene, I wouldn't know where to begin.

    It sounds like she has some mental issues to say the least.

    Spay & neuter cannot be stressed enough for a healthy animal population.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 18, 2013

    If you've ever worked at a shelter, you know that these folks did everything they could to prevent euthanizing these cats.

    But the real problem is the sheer Volume of unwanted animals.

    250,000 dog & cats are euthanized in NC every year.

    When I volunteered at a shelter in Charlotte, they were euthanizing 33 animals every day! ...just one shelter. Charlotte had 8 shelters at the time (I think).

    There are just TOO MANY unwanted animals. Thousands & Thousands!

    So, yes, they put down many healthy, totally cute, totally adoptable animals every day...because more are coming in by the car load later that afternoon.

    Spay & neuter. Please.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Oct 16, 2013

    She saw a VULTURE HURT a kitten???????????? WHAT? OMG! And what does SHE call what SHE did? She, being, Ms. Underwood? And she says no animals were abused? That is laughable. Sad, but laughable! She HAS abused these animals, by TAKING THEM IN!!! That turned into a win-win situation for all! NOT!

    So sad for the cats!! So sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • luvmynmls Oct 16, 2013

    dontstopnow - have you tried www.operationcatnip.org?

  • eswiggs00 Oct 16, 2013

    I believe someone should have rescued these cats, if they were inside i don't believe they were that wild. The comment about comparing a cat to a racoon is very untrue. I am a rescuer and i have kept what would be considered a feral cat and now she is as calm as any cat. Some people are just not knowledgable enough to make statements such as that. May god bless you all and i hope you sleep at night. It wasn't the cats fault about the conditions they were in that is why they should have been helped.

  • bubbasu1 Oct 16, 2013

    Not God or anyone else appointed humans as animal care givers.Selfish humans took it upon themsleves to domesticate cats/dogs.There are many good pet owners out there and then there are those who selfishly take on animals but do not take care of them.I use the word selfish because they are not thinking of the animal/what it needs but rather their own desires/wants.They do not have the money to properly care for/feed the animals and after awhile find them to be more trouble than they want to deal with.I work in an animal ER and it angers me when people come in talking about how they rescued this dog/cat yet it is not neutered/spayed,vaccinated, not on flea/ Heart worm prevenative,many times has never been to a vet.They have no $$ to treat it and often times end up euthanising it. Animals bring immesurable joy to our lives.We humans took it upon ourselves to be their care takers unfortunately many humans have failed miserabley, many can't even care for their children let alone an animal!

  • ppjm Oct 16, 2013

    But what is not being told is that as the cats were dying she would throw them out in the yard to feed the buzzards!!! That is why animal bones were found all over her property. So yes she should be charged with animal cruelty.

  • Alexia.1 Oct 15, 2013

    So Underwood lived there and walked among the cats daily, but the the government agents could not even step inside? And they want to condemn the place? Let the lady live her life. Gee.

    And to charge her with some crime for taking in stray cats? Seriously? Shall the Government also charge God for creating animals and placing them in the wild?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 15, 2013

    dontstopnow - "it is not about taking them in, but about wanting to feed a starving animal that is abandoned or thrown out."


    God appointed us their caregivers - not abusers or users or murderers, their caregivers to give care to them and their needs, and that means ALL of us, not just a select few who can't look away from any living being in need.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 15, 2013

    rhirhi - "Blame the government for not providing affordable spaying and neutering? So I guess this should be another "entitlement" the government should provide instead of people being responsible for their own actions."

    You think rounding them all up, taking them to a pound and then murdering them is free?

    It costs the government either way. A better cost would be helping people to provide for them because then the animal is still alive.