By Darrell Todd Maurina
TEXICO — Texico police spent Monday afternoon working with Clovis animal control officers rounding up dozens of cats at an undisclosed address.
“It was deplorable in there,” said Texico Police Chief John Mares. “The smell was unbearable, and they had a family of three living there.”
Mares declined to release the family name or address pending further investigation and possible charges.
Officials estimated as many as 50 cats lived in the house. Mares said by the time police arrived, not all of the cats observed earlier were still in the house.
“Some of the cats with litters had already been removed,” said Mares.
Having that many felines in a single house created a health hazard for both the human and animal occupants, Mares said.
Mares said Texico has a problem with local families who think they are being kind to cats but actually are creating problems for the community.
“We have people who set out a plate of food for the strays and of course the cats will come,” Mares said. “We have a lot of kids in town who like to play in the street, and with that many stray cats, we’d hate to see anyone get hurt.”
“They’re kind of wild,” Mares said. “They were really aggressive when we went after them.”
The captured cats were taken to the Clovis animal shelter, which has an agreement with Texico to assist in animal control cases.
Clovis animal control officer Louisa Maestas said they had trouble catching so many cats.
“We started out with 20 (in the house), six got away,” said Maestas.
Few if any of the captured cats will be adoptable as pets, Maestas said.
“Most of them were sick so I don’t think anyone would want them, and we don’t believe in adopting out sick cats,” Maestas said.
The animal control officer said families in Clovis are not allowed to have more than four animals without a special license. To get a multiple pet license, the animals must be spayed or neutered and must have their rabies shots.
“We don’t give a multiple license just because someone comes in and asks,” Maestas said. “We check it out and make sure they are going to be responsible people. The animals have to have a place to defecate, proper ventilation, shelter, things like that.”
That wasn’t the case in the Texico home, Mares said.
“They’ve got feces all over the porch, there was a big litter box but it was packed,” Mares said. “There were flies all over and the smell was unbearable.”
Mares said the felines came to the attention of local law enforcement when a citizen observed a large number of cats on the porch of the home.
Police removed about 10 dogs from the same home earlier this month.