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Avoca home swamped by cats raises health, legal concerns

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  • Staff Report 

An unusual case in Avoca, where a mobile home on Big Creek Road was found overwhelmed by 20-30 cats, has highlighted serious issues of animal neglect and the limitations of New York’s animal cruelty laws. Landlord Halen Allison, faced with a property covered in cat feces and an unbearable smell, described the scene as a clear case of animal cruelty and property destruction by the former tenant. Efforts to contact the tenant were unsuccessful, leaving Allison and the authorities to address the aftermath.

The situation has drawn attention to the gaps in New York’s animal cruelty legislation, particularly concerning cats. Public Information Officer and State Trooper Lynnea Crane explained the complexities of charging someone with animal cruelty under current laws, which have not been updated since January 2013. Meanwhile, health professionals warn of the risks associated with such environments, including the potential for toxoplasmosis, a concern highlighted by Dr. Justin Nistico of Arnot Health.

In response to the crisis, Allison is coordinating with the local SPCA to rehome the cats gradually, tackling both the animal welfare and public health aspects of this distressing scenario. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the responsibilities of pet ownership and the urgent need for updated legislation on animal welfare.