Too Many Pets A Consistent Problem

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

Animal Control was still removing cats Wednesday afternoon from a house on Fifth Street in Waynesboro. Police say the house was filled with pets and up to five inches of cat litter.

On Tuesday, nearly 20 cats and three dogs were removed from inside and around the home.

Police say neighbors were complaining about an odor coming from the house and workers had to wear masks because the stench was so strong.

The owner, 48-year-old William Pettry is charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty. Animal Control Officer Dee Price was literally up to her ankles in cat litter when she helped clear out the house oh Tuesday.

"It was pretty horrendous. It’s the worst that I've seen up to this point," says Price.

It’s not the first time she's seen this problem.

"It's not rare actually. This is the third case I’ve had here since I came in 2003, this being the worst and I have no doubt that there are more in Waynesboro, but it could be the person in the house next to you," says Price.

She says it often starts out with people who love for animals, almost too much.

"All things start out with good intentions. No one wants to see an animal go hungry and a lot of people don't want to see an animal go to shelters," says Price.

The problem often stars shortly after the person takes in strays, because the cats start breeding.

"If you don't spay and neuter and you have your animals together, it’s going to happen. Then that litter breeds with another litter in a confined space and you have more and more animals," says Price.

Soon there are too many cats to clean up after. Price says there are places for people to turn too, but often, they're afraid of giving up the animals.

"The best place to turn to is your animal control officers, and there are rescue groups, but they can be overwhelmed very quickly because everyone wants to do the right thing and save animals," says Price.

Animal control officers say they don't expect this problem to go away anytime soon.


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