TOMAHAWK, Wis (WSAW) -- City officials in Tomahawk are responding to a series of complaints about a vacant home that was overrun by cats for the last four years. Law enforcement says the owners of the property are working closely with them to resolve the issue.
“We have had a lot of complaints about a house that has been inhabited by cats,” explained Chief Al Elvins from the Tomahawk Police Department. “There is a lot of damage done to the structure of the home. Feces and cat urine can be found everywhere.”
According to Police, 15 cats were removed by the Lincoln County Humane Society from the home located on the 1300 block of Kings Road in January. Two cats were found dead and the Humane Society says the living conditions for the animals were extremely poor.
“The cats were fairly well-cared for. Access to water was limited, but there was evidence of food. I do believe that they were being checked on regularly,” stated Liz Friedenfels from the Lincoln County Humane Society.
The owners of the home are an elderly couple who have been married for more than 40-years. Their only child lives out of state and the women has become extremely ill and needs medical attention throughout the day. Some of the cats found in the home were barn cats because the couple owns a farm.
“Unfortunately this happens a lot,” added Friedenfels. “Sometimes people have really good intentions and situations just get out of control."
Meanwhile, neighbors in the area have complained about the smell that still comes from the property. Police tell NewsChannel 7 that the property damage outweighs the cost to fix it up, and the neighbors would like it torn down. However, because the home has a mortgage, the bank that owns the property will not allow the owners to proceed with demolition.
“If it wasn’t for the loan, this would have been taken care of back in March,” added Elvins. “The bank that owns the property is currently being sold and they won’t allow any negotiations while they are in that process."
The City of Tomahawk issued a raze order last week to the owners giving them a window to fix up the property or have it taken down. It’s unclear how long the raze order will be in effect because the owners have the right to show up in court and fight against the order.
The Lincoln County Humane Society says all 15 cats are doing much better. 14 of them are adopted and one still remains at the humane society waiting for a forever home.