Firefighters find dozens of cats in Cicero home

June 20, 2011 (CHICAGO)

City officials say they became aware of the situation after water crews came to shut off water for non-payment and were overcome by the odor.

Animal control officers wearing Hazmat suits used traps to capture the cats, many of which were in poor health.

"We'll come back because we need more traps. We filled up all of our traps at the moment," said Erika Rosas of Animal Control.

Neighbors say they have long been aware of the woman who lives in the house and her love of cats. Some call it an obsession. They have had to deal with the smell and other nuisances.

"They're sleeping in the yard. It's a problem. Every day, clean it up, clean it up," said Alex Flores, neighbor.

City officials say the home is uninhabitable. Senior services are currently trying to find somewhere for the homeowner to stay while they clean up the house.

Neighbors say the woman who is in her 70s lives alone.

"She is a really nice lady. Other than the whole cat situation, she is a real nice lady. I used to cut her grass for about 5 bucks when I was younger, and I'd try to help her out here and there," said Rafael Rueda, neighbor.

Animal Control officers have the job of caring for the cats, nursing many back to health, and trying to find new homes for them.

"Troubling and frustrating that this is ongoing, that nobody really saw the need or the want to help or even just make an anonymous call," said Rosas.

Animal Control says they will return to the house because they believe there are more cats inside the home.

The rescued cats are being held at Waggin' Tails in Cicero. Their phone number is 708-878-0632

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