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Dozens of cats confiscated from Wilson County home

Posted May 13, 2008

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— Wilson County animal control officers seized nearly four dozen cats from a home in the Black Creek community Monday after receiving complaints about a smell coming from the house.

Investigators don't plan to charge the cats' owner, Dee Burke, of 312 Mercer St., saying the animals did not appear to be neglected. Deputies say 48 cats and a dog lived inside the house; 47 cats were seized.

"They were being fed and cared for very much," said Maj. Mickey Wilson, with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office animal enforcement unit. "The adult cats are very very healthy. They really loved the animals."

Wilson said animal enforcement received a complaint about the smell over the weekend and when they visited Monday, determined conditions were not sanitary.

"When we parked at the road, you could actually smell the odor from the house," Wilson said.

Inside, the home was covered in urine and feces.

Wilson said Burke, who lives at the house with her three adult children, could have been forced to pay more than $300 in fines and court costs for each cat but agreed to surrender the animals, instead.

"They were very cooperative, and that's why were trying to work with them on that – trying to get everything cleaned up and help them," Wilson said.

None of the animals appeared to be abused, but they were covered in fleas and mites, he added. And their vaccinations were not up to date. Veterinarians are running further tests to look for any diseases.

Wilson County animal enforcement and local rescue groups are working to find homes for as many of the cats as possible. Further medical tests will determine exactly how many are adoptable.


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  • WF Zookeeper May 15, 2008

    This is called hoarding! People are collecting animals so they won't get hurt or put to sleep, but they are not getting proper medical care, are being attacked by fleas (which is unhealthy for both pets and humans), with that many cats they can't get the love and attention they need and proper nutrition. Anyone who truly cares about animals understands this. Many shelters recently have helped "hoarders" and do all they can, but they can't take every animal since there are so many. The conditions are deplorable and animals and people shouldn't live like that!

  • marsolo May 14, 2008

    I'm also an animal lover this story really interested me to the point that I'm sick! I'm away for another 2 weeks & I'm glad in saying so! Because I'm starting to wonder what's in the water up there? With all the Murders, rapes, robbing, animal cruelty, illegal dog fights etc, A house was raided & "well cared for & healthy" (Officials own words) pets were removed from it? I think this is Terrible! What in the world were they thinking while doing this to these obviously well cared for & Happy cats? Sure, the living conditions may have been somewhat in need of improvement & perhaps some extra boarding & running areas for the pets were needed. The family choose to care & Love these animals rather then have them run the streets as strays or get sent away to be euthanized. Why didn't the ones that barged in & took these pets instead offer to help this Family build adequate accomodations? They may not have had the $ to do so. What has happened to the days when people helped one another? SAD!

  • alanareynolds0104 May 14, 2008

    i know those people loves cats dogs and and i have grow up with cats and dogs so i know how those cats get fleas thanks

  • alanareynolds0104 May 14, 2008

    i know those people love cats and dog i do belived it and since i know them i dont think its was right for other ppl do this to this family whose love cats so i grow up with cats dogs myself so i know they have fleas thank you very much..

  • alanareynolds0104 May 14, 2008

    these people have mental issues? Why is that? Because they care for there animals ... Feed them gave them a roof to live under. these peopl are hurting they just got there animals taken away... Do you not have a heart? Gawd..

  • alanareynolds0104 May 14, 2008

    Thease people loved these cats... All animals have fleas ... Duh... I just think it is wrong for everyone to sit here an diss these people..They said these cats weren't neglected. These people just got there animals taken anyway and are hurting .. Does any of you PEOPLE have a HEART??

  • NCbred77 May 14, 2008

    Maybe 7 of those 47 cats will get adopted. The rest probably gassed. So were they better off with catlady or at the pound? At least they had some sort of life with her.

    Now I'm not defending the way they let their own living conditions get.

  • JAT May 14, 2008

    even a full working farm wouldn't need 48 cats and 1 poor dog to keep varmints away.....

    It's amazing to me how these 4 adults could go out in public without reeking of that smell or without all the mites and fleas all over them. It's just disgusting. And how do you afford to feed 48 cats and 1 poor dog? If these folks were receiving any sort of public assistance, they need to be put in jail.

  • buco May 14, 2008

    My wife has 14 cats and you do get use to the smell

  • Shadow213 May 14, 2008

    Wouldn't the fact that the cats lived in poor conditions, werent UTD on shots, AND were covered in fleas/mites constitute as neglect? I understand cat-lady was nice and cooperative in handing them over, but just because they're well-fed doesnt mean they weren't abused...