Hundreds of dogs and dozens of cats living in filthy, disease-ridden conditions. Animal rescue groups call it a horrendous case of animal hoarding. Animal rescue groups from Dallas and Tyler rescued the cats and dogs Sunday from a home in the 4400 block of Highway 31 East, just outside Athens.
"It's a disgusting place," said Celia Orr, with KittiCo Cat Rescue. Neighbors say Evelyn Moffit has hoarded animals for more than 10 years with no one taking action. Some said they've even had to bury animals that die there, trapped in disease-infested pens.
"He's dug puppies and dogs out from underneath the trailer," said neighbor Camille Bruce.
"It's horrendous to think of the animals that's suffered here," said Orr. Sunday, KittiCo came down from Dallas to rescue dozens of cats.
"They'll be treated for fleas, they'll be vaccinated," said Orr.
"They have upper respiratory infections, a lot of the kittens are anemic from the fleas, and their eyes are just covered in puss," said Bruce. Outside the old, dilapidated trailers Moffit lives in, neighbors said dogs were tethered on short chains, many starving to death. Our cameras weren't allowed inside, but neighbors said it's filled with feces, trash, roaches and other insects.
"Just the smell and the filth," said Bruce. "It's just a dumpsite walking into with the smell of urine and feces and the care of the animals is just shocking."
"Where the woman lived with the 10, or 15 dogs in the little room back there, you can't really breathe, I don't even know how she could be healthy," said Orr.
"That someone can sleep at night knowing their animals are in these conditions, it's just heartbreaking," said Bruce. Moffit eventually signed over her rights, so these animal rescue groups could take them, but many are angry it's gone on for so long.
"The fact that nobody has done anything about this, not the county, no people got involved, hoarders live a long life and animals are their victims," said Orr. At least these cats and hundreds of dogs already rescued, are finally getting the treatment they need.
Authorities said because Moffit signed over her rights to the animals, she is not facing any criminal charges. Some of the cats rescued Sunday will be put up for adoption. Others will be treated and brought back. KittiCo said its less traumatizing than re-locating them, or putting them in shelters.