VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Animal Control says it found more than 100 dead cats in the freezer of a home while serving a search warrant for alleged cat hoarding.
“We were able to identify a large number of animals inside the home,” said Animal Control Supervisor Meghan Conti. “Some of them are alive and some of them deceased.”
Animal Control says they got tips from neighbors about a possible cat hoarding case, and on Monday morning they raided the home and found what they expected.
One cat after another was brought out of the single story house on Spindle Crossing.
“We were expecting to find anywhere between 20 to 50 cats alive and in various stages of health,” Conti added.
The smell of cat urine was so strong officers were forced to wear masks when going in.
Officers pulled out 24 live cats, and found 100-plus dead cats in the freezer.
“Our hearts go out to the animals inside the home, but they also go out to the resident,” Conti said. “This isn’t just your everyday owner. This is someone who really has some concerning problems.”
Animal Control says they are very familiar with the homeowner, Lisa Ross. They were here years ago on a similar call, and in 2015 Ross was found guilty of breaking into animal control. Officers say she was there to free caged cats.
“Cat hoarding and being somebody who believes they are caring for the animals doesn’t necessarily mean that’s actually what they are doing,” Conti said.
Ross wasn’t home on Monday when officers arrived. She will soon be facing new charges.
Officers will now try to figure out how the dead cats died and will try to rehab the live cats, which might not be possible.
“A lot of the cats are wild and untamed, which indicates they might be feral cats, so there is a concern there.”