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Officials remove over 150 cats from Connecticut home

Volunteers are also helping the animals, in what the police chief says is a hoarding situation that got out of control.

WINCHESTER, Conn — Local officials and volunteers are helping to remove some 150 cats from a home in the Winsted section of Winchester.  The police chief attributed the situation to a case of “cat hoarding”.

Winchester Police Chief William Fitzgerald said their investigation began with a neighbor's call about one sick cat, and then they discovered the extent of the problem. 

Animal control officers from Winchester and nearby towns were at the home on Moore Drive Friday removing the animals, some in hazmat suits because the home is infested with fleas and is unclean. 

“Obviously with 100-150 cats, obviously there’s some issues in the house,” Fitzgerald said.

RELATED: 16 pets seized in Torrington animal cruelty investigation

Fitzgerald and Town Manager Josh Kelly said the homeowners have asked for help, and so far no charges are being filed.  

“The owners stated that they were just trying to help the animals from freezing outside. One thing led to another, they started feeding them, all of a sudden it got out of control,” said Fitzgerald.

Sunday evening, Kelly posted to Facebook to say that there will be an adoption event Monday night.

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In a social media post, Kelly said, "Please know that the Town government, including the Winchester CT Police Department, our Animal Control Officer, our Building Department, the Social Services office, Public Works, and the Winsted Fire Department, as well as the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, are all working diligently to correct this situation. Our top priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people and animals that are currently at the site and to relocate the animals to a safe location." 

Cats are being taken from the home and brought to the Batcheller School, which was just decommissioned and is now vacant. At the school, volunteers help clean the cats and veterinarians examine them. The cats cannot be placed in shelters until it's determined they are healthy. 

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Kelly said finding shelters who can take that many cats is a challenge.

"It is going to take an amount of time. We’re not sure what that amount of time is yet,” he said, although he hoped it the cats would be settled in a week or so.

The town is also looking for donations of food, cat carriers, cat litter and toys. 

Kelly's Facebook post about the situation closed with this:

"Please know and remember that the prior caretakers of these animals are working with officials to get them the care they need. This is a situation where a clear need is present, and we are rising to meet that need. Thank you all for your concern for these animals and your strong desire to help - it means a lot to us, and it's always good to be reminded of how strong our community is."

RELATED: Torrington police looking for hit and run suspect after 12-year-old girl injured

Bill Flood is an assignment editor at FOX61 News. He can be reached at bflood@fox61.com

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