UK & World News
Cat Hoarder Could Face Criminal Charges
A woman who kept 67 dead cats in plastic bags in her freezer and had another 99 felines living in stacked crates may face criminal charges, US officials have said.
Authorities discovered the animals after visiting Irene Vandyke's squalid home in Wright, near Albany, New York, following a neighbour's complaint about an overpowering stench of cat urine and faeces.
The Times Union of Albany reported that charges are being considered against Ms Vandyke, 50.
Schoharie county sheriff Tony Desmond told the newspaper: "We felt sorry for her and bad for the kittens at the same time."
Despite his empathy, Sheriff Desmond said: "I'd like to see her charged."
Sheriff Desmond will meet Schoharie's district attorney next week to discuss the case and whether to press criminal charges.
He said some of the dead cats were being examined to try to determine a cause of death.
The rescued cats were taken to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie where they are receiving medical treatment.
The manager of the shelter, Kerrie Colin, told the newspaper she had known about Ms Vandyke's cat crisis two years ago and had tried to help her but to no avail.
She said Ms Vandyke had visited the shelter for donations of food and cat litter, but stopped going when shelter workers tried to coax her into giving up some of her cats and kittens.
Mr Colin said: "The minute anyone tried to take her cats, she freaked out and threw them off her property.
"She definitely had a hoarder mentality. She's not a horrible person. She just needs help and counselling."
Ms Colin said that as soon as the rescued cats' health improves, they will be put up for adoption.