SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Springfield Animal Control is working with an area woman to surrender almost all of her 80 Bengal cats to local and regional animal shelters.
Brian Austin with Springfield Animal Control said they discovered the cats earlier this week after getting two anonymous tips from neighbors. Austin said the owner wanted to make some money by breeding and selling the cats but got too attached to the animals to let them go.
"I don't believe she has any malicious intent with this," Austin said. "She is a very nice lady. I can tell she cares about the animals but unfortunately just simply due to the numbers and her attachment to them she has become extremely overwhelmed."
Austin said the owner has been taking great care of the cats by feeding them not just dry and canned food but also specialty products. But Austin is worried about the health of the animals and the homeowner because of poor air quality inside the home caused by the amount of cat urine and feces.
KEZI 9 News spoke with the homeowner, but she declined to do an interview.
"She can spend just about every waking hour of the day cleaning and feeding and doing everything, and I don't know with this sheer number she would be able to keep up with it at this point," Austin said.
Austin hopes to accomplish the majority of the downsizing in two to three weeks and leave the homeowner with four to five cats. He has reached out to shelters locally and in Portland for help.
Megan Brezovar with Greenhill Humane Society said this case shows why people need to spay and neuter their pets. Brezovar said if they receive some of the cats, it will take a few weeks before they hit the adoption floor, giving them time to spay and neuter and screen the cats.
"Right now we currently have a lot of cats under our care, but we are willing to help however we can to make sure these animals all get the care and love and attention they deserve," Brezovar said.
Austin said they hope the homeowner continues to work with them voluntarily but said if she doesn't, they could charge her with animal neglect in the second degree.
The city of Springfield has offered to help find the cats new homes. People interested in adopting one of the cats can email firstname.lastname@example.org.