The distressed woman stood in the middle of a tiny yard in a mobile home park in South San Jose, surrounded by cages of cats, 17 to 22 cats to a cage — some were fighting, some were panting and some were standing on top of each other in the cramped cages.
"I am not a hoarder," the woman vehemently told Staycee Dains, shelter operations supervisor for San Jose Animal Care and Services, earlier this week.
By the time animal control officers left the woman's home, they had packed up 108 cats in varying stages of health, causing a major population jump at San Jose's animal shelter on Monterey Road.
"We had 407 animals in our facility," Dains said. "Two hundred and twenty of them are cats and 108 of those are hers."
Dains declined to release the woman's name because the investigation is still under way, but the case is one of the most difficult animal shelters face.
Once called collectors, animal hoarders accumulate large numbers of animals, usually cats or dogs, convinced, experts say, that only they can save and protect these animals, that others might kill them. As the numbers rise, the hoarders become unable to care for the animals and living conditions for both the humans and the animals deteriorate rapidly..." More