At least 36 cats were removed from in and around the home of a Colts Neck woman on Monday and Tuesday and another 100 from an apartment in Woodbridge, authorities said.

They're the latest in a string of animal hoarding cases around New Jersey. Seventeen dogs were removed from a Keyport home on Sunday. A Hopatcong man faces animal cruelty charges after 47 dogs were discovered in his home. And 80 cats were found Memorial Day weekend in a West New York apartment.

In what is being called the worst case of hoarding ever in Monmouth County, 276 dogs were removed from a house in Howell this month.

Monmouth County SPCA law enforcement officer Lt. Tom Nuccio said they removed seven mother cats and kittens from the Colts Neck home on Monday and then returned on Tuesday to capture another 12 cats. The owner also rounded up 17 additional kittens from around the yard.

Some of the cats lived inside the home but others were indoor/outdoor cats who are feral.

"It's an outdoor feeding situation that's gone unhandled for years. It's multiple people putting food outside their house and leave it. It's not just this woman," Nuccio said. “The home was in good condition, however the cats and kittens have severe upper respiratory infections, several cases of conjunctivitis and possible pregnancies due to the animals not being spayed and neutered.”

The outdoor cats will be trapped, neutered and released back on the property so they cannot continue to reproduce. Some of the indoor cats which are more manageable to handle will be taken to the MSPCA according to Nuccio.

The homeowner, whose identity was not disclosed by Nuccio, was "given some bad advice and information" from an outside animal rescue group according to Nuccio, who showed up at her door.

"They took four very sick cats and the owner has no idea where they went. We would want to know if there are real sick cats coming out of a residence. That's part of what we do," Nuccio said, adding that the Magnolia Lane house is in foreclosure.

The MSPCA and the New Jersey SPCA are both authorized law enforcement agencies that prosecutes animal abuse cases.

NJ SPCA spokesman Matt Stanton said a hazmat team was called to Harrowsgate Apartments in  Woodbridge to remove over 100 cats, some of which were inside walls.

"Middlesex County Hazmat was notified due to the heavy smell of urine and feces throughout the living areas.  Woodbridge health inspectors reported inhumane conditions due to the accumulation of debris, urine, and animal feces.  The investigation is ongoing," township spokesman John Hagerty said.

Steve Shatkin, president of New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told New Jersey 101.5 this month that animal hoarding cases may be reported more frequently this time of year because of the smell.

 “Animal hoarding is not just a summertime thing, but it may seem that way because people are outdoors more and pick up the smell while walking past the houses on the sidewalk.”


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