33 cats rescued from extreme filth in abandoned Okaloosa home

Wendy Victora
The Destin Log

CRESTVIEW — A 53-year-old Crestview man has been charged with animal neglect after authorities found he’d moved out of his home nearly a month ago, leaving 33 cats to fend for themselves.

The man told authorities he was aware of the conditions the cats were living in, but that conditions had become “unbearable.”

He said he and his family moved in with his daughter after he lost his job and the power was turned off, according to his Crestview Police Department arrest report. Since the charge is a misdemeanor, the Daily News is not naming the suspect.

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The cats had been alone since at least Dec. 23, 2109.

The man told authorities that he knew he should have stepped in sooner and that he knew the cats were in danger, according to his arrest report.

Their situation came to the attention of law enforcement and the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society Wednesday night after someone entered the home to get two of the kittens and was appalled at the conditions.

That individual called the police, however because it was dark and there was no electricity, officials waited until Thursday morning to go into the house and retrieve the cats.

PAWS Director Dee Thompson said most of the cats were friendly, though some of the younger animals were feral.

According to the arrest report, three of the cats appeared to malnourished and were “constantly crying.” The carpet was soaked with urine and “squished” when walked on. The odor was so bad the Crestview Fire Department was called to assist.

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“There was a concern that it wasn’t safe,” Thompson said.

She said one of her officers planned to visit the suspect at the jail on Friday and ask him to surrender the cats to PAWS. If he won’t, PAWS will petition the courts for ownership.

The cats were left in a home on Hatchee Drive, which is off P.J. Adams Parkway.