SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- Soaked in feces and urine, dozens of cats are now getting medical attention after their owners abandoned them.
Pasado’s Safe Haven animal rescue swooped in and rescued the cats on Thursday from a home on the 7100 block of 142nd Drive SE near Snohomish. But some people believe the county dropped the ball and should have done more to protect the animals.
County officials said their hands are tied. Investigators said they could not get in touch with the homeowner, plus animal control officers never found probable cause -- so they could not get a warrant to get inside the building.
Pasado’s Safe Haven volunteers wore heavy-duty rubber gloves and hazmat suits into the house.
“We obviously don’t want that on us, so this is our protection,” said Ashley Wisdom.
Inside the home were dozens of cats and kittens covered in urine and feces -- and so was everything else.
Neighbors said the homeowner took off on Christmas Day, leaving the animals alone in the cold.
“Poor animals,” said neighbor Ed Coons. “They can’t help themselves.”
Everything inside the home reeks of ammonia – the conditions were unhealthy at best, said volunteer Kendra Madison. “Upper respiratory infections are something we expect to see in conditions like this."
Neighbors said animal control officers left food and traps to help lure the cats outside but that didn’t work.
“I trapped one and it freaked out,” said neighbor Sam May. “I felt terrible.”
Pasado’s executive director, Laura Henderson, said the homeowner gave them permission to enter the home and take the cats before they got any sicker.
Henderson believes the county could have worked harder to get the cats the help they needed.
“If the system was working and Snohomish County Animal Control was doing their job, we would not have to be here today,” she said.
Neighbors are just happy to see the animals leaving the filthy conditions and getting medical attention.
Rescuers discovered three dead kittens and more than 30 cats in the home. Pasado’s will evaluate the animals for infection or injury.