ORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Mag55) — A house in Portsmouth is being described as a “house of horror” after Code Enforcement and the Health Department found it piled with trash and feces and found more than a dozen dead cats inside.
The house is in the 1300 block of Park Avenue in Portsmouth and has since been condemned.
“It was horrendous. Cats everywhere, emaciated cats just kept coming out of corners and everywhere,” Portsmouth Police Code Enforcement Officer Tiffany Hedrick said. “The garbage is up to the top of my boots, dead cats everywhere and the stench was horrendous.”
Andy Gedeon, director of environmental health at the Portsmouth Health Department, says they counted at least 17 dead cats scattered throughout the home.
“In 18 years of public health this is probably, if not the worst, the next to worst house I’ve seen,” Gedeon said.
In addition to the dead cats, Gedeon says they also found more than a dozen live cats.
Sierra’s Haven was called in to help and volunteers have rescued 15 live cats. They’re still trying to capture a few more.
Despite being over capacity, Chrystal Brown says Executive Director, Dr. Gail Counts, wanted to bring the cats in due to the horrific conditions.
“Just like a bad horror movie, one of the worst things that you’ve ever seen or smelled,” Brown said. “They had no food, no water and the smell was just wretched. You couldn’t breathe longer than five minutes at a time you had to walk outside.”
The cats are slowly recovering and gaining strength. Brown says they were semi-feral when they arrived at Sierra’s Haven. If you’d like to donate to medical costs for the cats, you can visit www.sierrashaven.org.
Hedrick says there’s evidence and items to suggest that a child had been living in the home.
Records show a call to police in January, requesting a welfare check on the family, saying the home was unfit for the baby and elementary and junior high aged kids living inside.
Gedeon says the house is on the fast track for demolition. He says City Council has appropriated money for emergency situations like this and expects it to be torn down in the next few weeks.
“This is another step of where it’s not tolerated in the city of Portsmouth any longer,” Gedeon said.
The former owner of the home is facing several charges including cruelty to animals, abandoning animals, failure to maintain a property and solid waste violation.