Police discover 59 dead cats, 141 live ones in Pennsylvania home
Pennsylvania authorities stumbled across 58 dead cats and 141 live ones while conducting a search on a townhouse on Tuesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Last week, a cat rescue group contacted the Bucks County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after Lori Romanisko, 56, brought several litters of unhealthy kittens to the veterinarian. Officers from the SPCA then executed a search warrant to enter the woman's barely furnished home, where they found 59 cats — almost all kittens — dead in her refrigerator and freezer.
Authorities also learned that several of the 100-plus live cats had serious eye and upper respiratory infections, Nikki Thompson, an officer with the shelter told the Inquirer.
"The conditions inside the house were horrible," she said. "There was a high level of ammonia, a lot of feces. It was very unsanitary."
Officers have since brought the remaining cats to two local shelters to be cared for, but Thompson said Romanisko, a volunteer for local rescue groups, has refused to surrender them.
"She felt that she was really helping the cats and loved them more than anybody else could," Thompson said.
In fact, the Bucks County SPCA had received an anonymous tip and conducted a welfare check on the cats back in January, WPVI-TV notes. The shelter's investigation ended up spanning four months, although a search warrant revealed that Romanisko had been on its radar as early as January 2018. She is expected to face criminal charges.
The news comes less than a month after a judge sentenced a Minnesota woman to 200 hours of community service and two years of probation for animal cruelty. Police had found 64 dead cats in her home.