CHILLICOTHE, Ohio--After getting a call from a concerned neighbor, Chillicothe police confiscated 44 cats and one dog Friday from a home on East 5th Street.
All the animals were jammed into pet carriers with no food or water.
But it wasn't the Ross County Humane Society that came to the rescue.
"They told us they weren't able to help us ... they had no means necessary to house the animals and no way to transport them and no way to better care for them ... that we needed to find an alternate method to do that," explained Public Information Officer Bud Lytle.
Chief Roger Moore called on the North Fork Animal Clinic to help get the cats into better condition.
Veterinarian Blake Lloyd examined the cats.
"As a clinic, we decided we could step up and house the cats for however long we needed to. We weren’t really sure how long that would be, and it seems it might be a little while, but we are taking good care of them," said Lloyd.
NBC4 went to the humane society to find out why it could not help.
Pam Longlott is the manager and said without a humane officer, it can't legally take animals.
She said those powers rest with the police department and the Ross County sheriff's office.
The small, nonprofit shelter can only hold 16 to 20 cats, she said.
"We’ve worked hard with vets to keep healthy, adoptable cats. And anything over, we have found in the past, you get a room full of sick animals," explained Longlott.
Now in the hands of a private vet, something unheard of in rescue cases such as this, Officer Lytle says any medical treatment must be done via court order since the hoard is "evidence" in the alleged animal cruelty case.
Between court time and expenses incurred to nurse the cats back to health, taxpayers could end up footing the bill.
Lytle said something must be done before another hoard is discovered.
"We’re stuck at an impasse. If this was to happen again tomorrow, we would be stuck at the same impasse that we were in this situation. And we can’t continue to call on private veterinarians. That’s how they make a living," Lytle said..." Link & video