Hopeful Transformations Begin For The 182 Cats Saved From Delaware Hoard

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Residents in Camden, Delaware were shocked when a local home was emptied of a hoard of animals living in “deplorable conditions”. The Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) had received reports about the disturbing location. When they listened to the stories reported by the citizens, they jumped into action. This animal abuse was like nothing they had ever witnessed before. 

This Delaware hoard reached utterly astonishing numbers when more than 180 animals were removed! 

The final count was unbelievable to everyone involved. Included were 182 cats of all age ranges, 1 dog and sadly, 1 deceased feline.

And they were all living in filth, left to their own devices. 

The OAW immediately contacted one of the local shelters. Because this was going to be a massive recovery effort. When you are dealing with a hoard of this magnitude, they were going to need experienced animals handlers. 

Above all, staff and volunteers with the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) were happy to come to the rescue. It certainly wasn’t the first time they’ve brought animals back from the brink of death. And it certainly will not be their last!

Quickly rounding up as many of the animals as possible, the were able to remove them all. But it is a heartbreaking task. 

The sad and defeated faces of their charges peaked out from every corner of the hoarded property. 

Representatives from the BVSPCA shared the news on their social media pages. 

The animals are in our care for evaluation and any necessary medical care. OAW’s investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending. It’s believed this may be the largest single hoarding case seizure in the state’s history.

Thankfully there weren’t many illnesses in the massive clowder living at the property. 

“Many of the cats are underweight, many have flea dermatitis,” said Walt Fenstermacher. He’s the BVSPCA’s director of programs, who helped lead the shelter’s intake. “Some have upper respiratory infections, all of which are fortunately treatable.”

After only a few days in the Delaware shelter, some of the “hoard cats” were already eligible for adoption! 

It truly goes to show you that you can NOT judge a book by it’s cover. With a little love, attention and medical care, these sweet felines began to shine. And the transformation photos were shared on the shelters Facebook pages.

#14 (~5yo female, West Chester)
#21 (~14yo female, New Castle)

It’s unclear if some of the animals were former house pets, as they instantly caved to human attention.

Fenstermacher said the organization was evaluating cats for possible adoption and noted that some people had already come forward saying they believed some of the felines belonged to them.

“We’re backtracking with individuals who believe that one of the cats might be theirs and then we’re and hopefully we’re able to reunite them,” he said.

Wildfire (male, ~2yo)
Kaleidoscope (female) – Georgetown location
Josie (female, ~3yo)

Likewise, some may never have know what it is like to be doted on. And those are the more devastating cases, because they need to find a special home. A few of the less social cats will hopefully find a home as a “working cat”. These feral felines may never be indoor house cats that snuggle up on your lap. But they will make sure that your barn, warehouse, business, etc…NEVER has a mouse problem! 

Outside of seeking adopters for family cats, the shelter has a critical need for “working cat” placements for those who may be undersocialized, said BVSPCA spokesperson Linda Torelli. “Many of these cats haven’t known the companionship of humans and may prefer to live an independent life,” Torelli explained.

#115 (~5yo male, New Castle)
#135 (~12yo female, West Chester)
#108 (~6yo male, West Chester)

If you would like to help the Delaware BVSPCA turn life around for these souls, please consider donating to their organization. 

Most importantly, the animals out of harms way. But now the hard part comes. Because caring for the states largest number of rescued animals from a hoard is NOT cheap.

We’re proud to be part of this important work. [But] we need your help getting these cats the quality of life they deserve. You can help with a donation to support the significant cost of this intake. Which includes boarding for some of the cats and medical care for 183 animals, or by adopting.

Gary (male, ~8yo)

We’ll need adopters for the more social cats. And, even more critically, working cat placements for those who may be undersocialized. Learn more at: bvspca.org/182cats

“It was certainly a situation where that individual was obviously overwhelmed. [Because] 182 cats to be cared for by one person is a daunting task. It’s nearly impossible so that’s why the Office of Animal Welfare was called in,” Fenstermacher said.

#174 (~5yo male, West Chester)
Blink (female)


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