RICHLAND, PA — The Bucks County SPCA rescued 20 sick cats and 1 dog from “extremely unsanitary conditions” at a home in Richland Meadows Mobile Home Park last week, the shelter reported Friday.
The owner had recently been evicted and BCSPCA Chief Constable Nikki Thompson was sent home May 6 by Richland Township Constable Jason Searock.
As she approached the house, she said an intense smell of ammonia from the urine inside was evident – and upon entering the fumes were so strong they made her eyes run and burned his throat.
She described the conditions inside as “dirty”, saying stacked cages were crammed into the cramped rooms, the few litter boxes were overflowing with cat droppings and some animals roamed free while others were in cage.
“One of the caged cats appeared to be wheezing as it tried to breathe,” the animal shelter wrote in its report. “Three cats were trapped in the small bathroom.”
All 20 cats and the dog found in the home had fleas, the BCSPCA said. The dog appeared to have multiple tumors and several of the cats had severe upper respiratory and eye infections.
Officer Thompson spoke with the owner at length and encouraged him to turn the animals over to the BCSPCA to receive necessary medical attention, the shelter said. When the landlord refused help, Thompson obtained a court warrant for their removal.
All 21 animals are now comfortably and safely housed at the BCSPCA’s two shelters in Quakertown and Lahaska, the organization reported.
“Each animal has been fully examined by the organization’s medical team and started the necessary treatments to relieve their suffering,” the BCSPCA wrote. “Some of the cats required intravenous fluids upon arrival, antibiotics for their severe upper respiratory infections, and all were treated for fleas.”
A cat suffers from entropion, a painful eye condition in which the eyelashes turn inward and constantly rub against the eyes. The shelter said surgery and extensive follow-up care would be needed to resolve the issue.
“These animals were kept in deplorable conditions and had not received the necessary veterinary care,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, this is not a unique case. The BCSPCA is called upon to respond to nearly 500 complaints of animal abuse and neglect each year in Bucks County.”
Just days later, on May 12, the BCSPCA responded to a call for help in Falls Township, rescuing a group of amphibians, reptiles and rodents abandoned in a hotel room. A veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals directs their care, the shelter said.
BCSPCA Executive Director Linda Reider urged anyone in Bucks County who is struggling to care for their animals to reach out before the situation becomes serious.
“If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to us,” she said. “The BCSPCA has resources to help in many situations and expert, compassionate staff members. If you suspect animals are being neglected or abused, report your concerns confidentially to the BCSPCA online or call 215-794- 7425. Residents can be assured that the organization will follow to rescue and resolve situations.”
Animal cruelty charges have been filed against the owner of the Richland Township animals, the shelter said.
The BCSPCA, represented by pro bono counsel from McCarter & English, LLP, plans to bring a civil action against the owner under Pennsylvania law on seized animal care costs.
Donations to offset the cost of food, shelter and medical care for these animals can be made to the organization’s Animal Relief Fund online or by calling (215) 794-7425.
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