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Woman had over 200 cats in her house!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Don't know if any of you have read this (or mentioned this already, so I appologize if this is a duplicate post -- I'm new here, still trying to catch up!) but this 82 year-old woman here in VA had over 200 stray cats in her house (a lot of them already dead!) and a second home with more... (apparently 420 all together) Most of them were killed by the police as they were very sick and infected. What do you all think of this?

Here are the links, at the Washington Post website:

I'm not going to post them all here due to it's size, but this is a copy of the latest news report (the last link above):

Cops: Woman Had Over 420 Cats in Two Homes

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 14, 2005; 10:52 PM

BURKE, Va. -- Neighbors who had wondered what that stench was from another town house spent Thursday coming to grips with the answer. Police said the odor was that of more than 100 dead cats, plus nearly 50 more live ones, being kept by an elderly woman.

That same woman was arrested earlier this week after authorities removed more than 270 cats, both alive and dead, from another of her homes in the county's Mount Vernon section.

Ruth Knueven, 82, already faces charges including cruelty to animals and obstruction of justice for the July 8 discovery in Mount Vernon. Police said Thursday they are deciding whether to level additional charges against Knueven after finding 134 dead cats and 47 living ones in a Burke home belonging to her family.

"All of these cats had respiratory disease and there were feces and urine all around the house," said Officer Richard Henry, a Fairfax County police spokesman. He said all the cats found alive in both homes had to be euthanized.

Neighbors in the quiet Burke community on Lakepointe Drive said they had noticed foul smells coming out of the town house, but didn't know what was causing them until police arrived. They said they had seen Knueven hauling heavy garbage bags that they now presume were filled with dead cats.

"Who would've ever thought that they were cats _ dead cats _ in those bags," said neighbor Nancy Fields. Fields said she had to burn incense in her basement and scour its walls with disinfectant because of the stench coming from next door.

Conditions in the houses did not endanger neighbors and their homes, said John Yetman of the Fairfax County Health Department.

Knueven and her family have been living in a hotel since Friday, when health officials declared her Mount Vernon home unfit for human habitation.
post #2 of 14
That is just so sad..............I can't even imagine.

BTW, I love your siggy pic!
post #3 of 14
Good grief thats so sad
post #4 of 14
Horrible, just horrible.

Moving this to SOS.
post #5 of 14
I am speechless!!!

Wait no.. its all coming to me now!! That woman needs some help!! Those poor cats!! How can someone live like that? I mean I cats too but goodness. Some people in this world. This story just makes me scared.
post #6 of 14
ok lets say the old woman is a bit nuts, or just forgetful (how does one *forget* to dispose of, pardon me, rotting corpses??)

anyway lets say she was a bit out there, but she had a husband and a daughter living with her

how on earth did they live like that and allow that to continue?

did the whole family have no sense of smell?? (seriously, this is a possibility i suppose)

even so, most people realize that piles of dead animals is a health hazard, and would not let them sit there like that all that time.

you know, its refreshing in a way,that the old woman took responsibility and admitted it had gotten out of hand,
but what about the other two adults in the home??

how can someone KNOW that this is going on, and not do anything to help stop it and prevent it from happening again???

that part just boggles my mind.
post #7 of 14
I agree. One collector or someone a bit "off" is to be expected, but who are these people she was living with? Why was there reluctance on their part to come forward?
I mean, if the neighbours were aware of the stench, can you imagine what it smelled like in their own house???
I don't get it either..
post #8 of 14
this is just awful. how could a person live with that many aninmals and not notice the stench of feces, and dead animals ,somethings not right here!
And how many cats does she need? Osiris and my other girls are sad for all those kitties
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I felt awful for the kitties too... One of the reports said that only 8 cats were spared from the first house (out of 200) since all others were very sick and would be contagious to other animals at the shelter, so all of them got killed. How can someone have that many cats (they were even cats in the walls!) and actually think they're helping them? And imagine how many of them multiplied there, since they weren't spayed or neutered!

I was also shocked about the husband and daughter, I don't understand why they aren't getting charged with anything, if they lived there, they were just as guilty of it, afterall that many cats, regardless of how big your house is, would be everywhere...
post #10 of 14
But what about the neighbors? From what I can see, one of the properties was a townhouse - did the neighbors not realize that the smell was cat urine? Did they not see dozens of cats in the windows before the cat population reached 200 and 420 - the size of a small town? Did the 82-year old never talk to any of them? Sometimes people just need to be a bit more aware of what is going on literally next door. Sad, sad story...
post #11 of 14
post #12 of 14
I agree with Tortie! It's like a bad case of child abuse - after the authorities find out & the case is exposed, members of the community with stories to tell "come out of the woodwork like cockroaches on a dark night". They obviously don't have anything to do with their neighbors, to not have known; or if they did know, suffered from that age-old ailment "didn't want to get involved". Sorry, but I am feeling bitter knowing how those cats suffered, just like some of the local kids suffered, and not one person suspected, or knew....at least, not till after someone else took action. It is all sooooo sad!!
post #13 of 14
that's sad
post #14 of 14
We discussed that today at the feral cat clinic.....why the county didn't offer to help this woman baffles me. This is the unfortunate result of having intact cats that continue to breed.

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