Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cat hoarder cited on more than 250 counts

By: Taryn Bianchin

On Tuesday, officials seized nearly 40 cats-- three of them dead-- from a northeast Albuquerque home after receiving preliminary reports the residence harbored almost 100 cats.

"Cats were coming out of the vents, cats were coming out of the couches, cats were coming out of the drawers, they were coming out of the cupboards, they were coming out of the closets," said TJ Wilham, a public safety spokesman.

The safe city strike force was called out to the house, near Eubank and Academy,and took dozens of cats from the home.

Last week, the city counted 65 cats inside the house, and came back on Tuesday to seize them. The owner, whose wife had recently died, told authorities his wife was trying to rescue the cats.

Compassion aside, homeowner Thomas Lavandoski, 48, was cited on more than 250 misdemeanor counts Wednesday morning stemming from the violation of the city's pet-hoarding ordinance.

City officials say they won't declare the house substandard yet, and are open to working with Lavandoski to make sure he cleans it up.

Lavandoski will be arraigned February 10th for the charges against him. Meanwhile, the cats will be kept in protective custody with animal services until the court case is resolved...More & video