BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A criminal investigation is underway after Brown County authorities said they found more than 20 cats on one property.
Brown County Humane Agents got a call from someone who was worried about the welfare of animals on a property in Mt. Orab on Friday, so they responded to the home.
What officials said they found at the house disturbed them. Chief Warden Melissa Downs said 18 cats and kittens were discovered alive, but all of them were struggling in different ways. She said some of them were malnourished, while others were suffering from infections.
According to Downs, a few of the cats were missing eyes, and several of them were dead.
“It was a pretty gruesome scene," Downs said. “A search warrant was requested and granted. Two cats during the investigation were removed due to they were in imminent danger of death and were immediately rushed to the vet clinic... There were cats and kittens that were having such respiratory distress that they were breathing and panting through their open mouths."
The cats that survived are now getting medical care. Downs said five of them will need to have surgery.
Brown County investigators are filing criminal charges against the person who had the cats. Downs said what they witnessed at the home was animal cruelty.
Officials with the Brown County Humane Society said they have already saved more than 500 cats this year, which means this latest rescue will hurt them financially. However, Downs said it will be worth it.
“Having to bring in this many cats at once, all of them requiring intense medical care, is definitely a strain," Downs said. “It’s gonna be a long road.”
The name of the person facing charges has not been released, but officials said he or she will be in court Nov. 3.
The humane society is accepting donations to help them cover the cost of vet care. The Brown County Small Animal Adoption Shelter runs solely on donations and fundraisers, according to Downs.
To donate, foster or volunteer visit the humane society’s website.
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click here to report it.