Woman dumps 20 cats, 30 more found in squalor, Monmouth officials say
A woman who dropped off 20 cats at the Monmouth County SPCA in September was found with at least another 30 cats living in "absolutely deplorable conditions," according to Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra.
The SPCA posted video in September of the woman pulling up to the organization's curb in a black Mazda CX-7, opening up the hatch and carrying the cages to the door. None of the cages had food or water, according to Licitra. A note was left that said their caretaker had died.
Licitra said officials on Wednesday removed more cats from the home of Amanda Abrahamowicz, 28, who was living in a senior community in Howell. Her mother, who died in July 2019, had been renting the house and Abrahamowicz had been living there while her mother was alive but fell on economic hard times, according to Licitra.
"The house was absolutely deplorable with a hoarding-like situation, completely covered in feces. We had to have full PPE, Tyvek suits and the urine smell was completely debilitating and overwhelming," Licitra said.
Licitira said every floor, counter and piece of furniture was covered in urine and feces. Food was left for the animals on the floor in ripped bags and the water bowls were filthy.
Abrahamowicz said she dropped off the cats because she had been calling shelters but was told that because of the pandemic there was a limit on how many cats could be taken in.
Licitra said if Abrahamowicz had shown up at the door with the cats and explained her situation they would have been taken in.
"It's law enforcement. We'd never have turned our back on it in a million years," Licitra said, adding that they would have arranged a scheduled surrender, a common practice at the MCSPCA.
Licitra said he and his investigators suspected Abrahamowicz had more cats because only male cats were dropped off.
"Thank God we stayed on it, thank God we followed through with it and thank God we were able to rescue these cats," Licitra said.
Licitra, who is chief of humane law enforcement for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, said he will review possible criminal charges with prosecutors.
Licitra said Abrahamowicz was also involved in an animal cruelty case in 2019 with two German shepherds that were removed from another house. She surrendered the dogs to the MCSPCA and was not assessed any fees.
The cats are being examined by the MCSPCA's veterinarians and will be spay/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and eventually be put up for adoption. Only five of the original 20 cats have been adopted.