KILLEEN, Texas — Nearly 200 malnourished and sick cats, kittens and several dogs were removed from a home in Killeen Friday.
Authorities served search and seizure warrants at the home near the intersection of Foxglove Lane and Watercrest Road around 7 a.m. and found the animals in the 1,800-square-foot property.
The animals appeared to be in need of medical attention and were living in horrible conditions, officials said.
Several of the animals were nursing mothers with kittens, and a number of the animals were in need of urgent medical assistance. They were removed from the home.
The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team is taking the animals to a temporary emergency shelter. The location of the shelter was not given.
“It is heartbreaking to see hundreds of gentle cats and kittens suffering in poor conditions,” said Nikki Prather, Texas state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are thankful to the city of Killeen for answering the call to help these animals.”
The Humane Society of the United States was called to help after concerns from the city about the welfare of animals.
“We are happy to be able to work with partners to assist these animals and provide them with a chance to get the care they need,” said Tammy Roberts, Killeen Animal Services manager. “We hope these animals will be adopted into loving homes once their immediate needs are addressed. The property owners have been cooperative—we often see in similar situations that it appears those responsible for the care of a high quantity of animals become overwhelmed.”
“No animal should ever be deprived of proper veterinary care or forced to suffer in horrible conditions like what our rescue team saw today,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We are committed to doing all that we can to get these cats and dogs the expert care they so desperately need. We encourage the public to contact authorities if they ever suspect that animals are in trouble or in need of intervention. Sadly, this story is not unique, but we are certain that these cats and dogs now have a chance at a better life.”
The Spark of Life Kitten Foster and Rescue posted to Facebook Friday afternoon that their facility was served a warrant.
"Spark of Life Kitten Foster and Rescue was issued a search warrant this morning. We are accused of animal cruelty/neglect due to the recent number of kitten deaths we experienced. A question was raised by Killeen Animal Control Officer Amanda Gilbert because we took our deceased kittens to the shelter crematorium. We do not believe in throwing kittens in trash cans and it is illegal to bury pets in the city limits. While we admit to being overcrowded, we have never intentionally put an animal in harm’s way. All animals, including our personal pets, are being seized by the Killeen Police Dept. and transferred to the American Humane Society. We are cooperating fully because our concern has always been for the safety and welfare of cats. If we are not providing adequate care, then we should not be a rescue. A court date is in the near future. Those who wish to attend as supporters should privately contact our page," the post said.
The director at Spark of Life said their organization has a hard time turning rescues away.
"We rescue cats. When we say, 'No,' there is a 90% chance the animal will die. We are not good at saying no. But there are too many right now and I am grateful for the help we are receiving today.
It is unclear how long the animals had been living in dangerous conditions.
It will be up to the courts to determine if the owners will face fines or any other consequences.
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