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Dozens of cats confiscated from Wilson County home

Investigators say they don't plan to charge the cats' owner, saying the animals did not appear to be neglected.

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BLACK CREEK, N.C. — 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.



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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