Large Number of Animal Surrenders Increasing

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The Nevada Humane Society says they are seeing an increase in people surrendering large numbers of animals at one time. In fact, they are still trying to find homes for five cats recently surrendered.

There have been two large number animal surrenders recently. One was in Sun Valley, the other in Cold Springs. Between the two, dozens of cats were turned in.

It may start out as a hobby, having a few pets. But without warning, litters get out of control and owners are left feeling overwhelmed.

"You have a couple cats for instance,” Bobby Smith with Animal Control said. “They have kittens, you can't get rid of them, not sure how to get rid of them or find homes for them."

The Humane Society says it’s becoming more common lately.

"Cats in the case here can breed very quickly,” Lilli Walker said. “In the matter of a year, a couple of cats can turn into a basic hoarding situation and you have a number of cats."

The main difference between the two cases: the Sun Valley cats were well-cared for and socialized. Their owners just got in over their heads.

It was different for the animals from Cold Spring, who needed medical care. They either had respiratory illnesses or eye infections which caused blindness. There are two cats who have had both of their eyes removed. However, none of them were sick enough to be euthanized.

The owners will not face any charges.

Animal Control said they try to work with owners to get the pets taken care of.

"It doesn't always end in prosecution,” Smith said. “It depends on the situation. So it's a case-by-case basis and through investigation, we'll determine which way to do.”

And in some cases, Social Services intervene.

"Typically we want to work with the people and get the animals taken care of,” Smith said. “If we go straight in there--gang-busters-- we're gonna prosecute you, we don't get a lot of assistance from the animal owner."

Depending on the severity of the case, animal cruelty charges could begin with a $635 citation, possibly six months in jail.

And it’s not always easy to spot a hoarding situation. The outside of a persons home may be picture perfect, but once you get inside, you can see a hoarding situation.

One telltale sign is the smell of urine or feces. If you do have concerns, call Animal Control and they will send an officer out to the location to check out the situation.