108 cats seized from Volusia County home put down

Code enforcement officials notice foul odor coming from house

More than 100 cats are seized from a Volusia home.
More than 100 cats are seized from a Volusia home.

DELTONA, Fla. – More than 100 cats, some with feline leukemia, were seized Wednesday from a Deltona home after a foul odor tipped off officials, according to authorities.

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Code enforcement officials were checking a damaged garage door earlier in the week at a home in the 1700 block of Ingram Terrace when they noticed the stench.

"It's like taking my babies from me, my sons," said Santiago Casanova.

Code Enforcement Officers came to the house on Monday for a garage complaint but after smelling cat urine, they returned on Wednesday with a search warrant.

"They showed up, they went inside and they noticed there was an excess number of cats," said Lee Lopez of the City of Deltona.

Once officers started loading up the cats, Lopez said the wife, Carmen Martinez, broke down.

"Once they came inside that's when she verbally said that she was going to hurt herself," said Lopez.

Martinez was baker acted and taken to Stewart-Marchman Act Behavioral Healthcare. Neighbors say they weren't surprised.

"She lives for her cats and I fear what will happen to her if she doesn't have her cats," said Marlene Wall.

According to city ordinance, residents can't have more than five animals per household.

"The issue when you have this many animals, it's more of a health concern for the animals and for the people who live here," said Lopez.

Lopez said a few cats suffer from feline Leukemia, but more seemed well fed and healthy. Halifax Humane Society said 108 of the 114 cats had to be put down and were in the worst shape possible.

"Like most cases like this, you can't have over 100 cats in one house and expect them to be healthy," said Tyler Stover of Halifax. "Many of them did show signs of medical neglect. Broken teeth, one had a broken jaw, teeth rotting out, bloody nostrils."

Casanova admitted that he had too many cats but said if his family doesn't care for them, no one else will.

"I'm not going to grab no more, but I'm going to continue helping animals and keep them outside," said Casanova.

Every cat tested showed signs of panleukopenia and most of them showed signs of either feline leukemia or feline AIDS, officials said.The six remaining cats will spend the next 15 days in quarantine to make sure they're OK for adoption.

No other details were immediately known.

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