PALO — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after 20 cats were voluntarily surrendered Thursday to the Cedar Valley Humane Society.
According to the sheriff’s office, the humane society requested deputy assistance at about 11:15 a.m. Thursday at a home on Dale Lee Drive in Palo while an animal welfare check was conducted.
After inspecting the residence, it was determined the owner was unable to safely care for the large number of cats and she agreed to voluntarily release the animals.
The sheriff’s office said the humane society took custody of the cats and would contact Palo officials if more animals are found on the property. The humane society said there may be 15 to 20 more cats on the property, but they were unable to be located because of conditions in the home.
“The living conditions were the worst we had ever seen by far,” the humane society said Friday in a Facebook post. “There are cats in the walls, ceilings, vents, hiding in debris, and coming in and out of the house.”
The Cedar Valley Humane Society said the incident was one of the organization’s “biggest cat-hoarding cases of the year.”
Of the 20 seized cats, humane society program manager Hannah McFarlane said 10 were male and 10 were female, and seven of those are under six months of age. The other 13 cats ranged in age from seven months to roughly 13 years old.
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All the animals had fleas and parasites, McFarlane said, and “a majority are suffering from upper respiratory infections and dehydration.”
All of the cats, she said, “are receiving care, and we expect all of them to survive.”
The sheriff’s office said the investigation is ongoing, and the situation has been reported to Linn County Public Health and the Department of Human Services.
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