KANSAS CITY, Missouri - The owner of 150 cats is relieved that a judge gave her *extra time to find a lawyer. Delores Metcalf is due back in court on Tuesday, more than three weeks after animal control took 152 animals from her Northland home.
NBC Action News learned on Wednesday that an estimated ten cats have already died.
Dennis Moriarty knows the conditions of the remaining 140 cats better than anyone. Every morning, when he opens the door to the Kansas City, Missouri Animal Shelter, he is prepared to clean for hours.
Moriarty describes what he’s up against, "A lot of diarrhea, a lot of vomit on the floor."
He says most of the cats don't understand human contact.
Moriarty said, “They'll just move when you come near them. And they're still in the huddling aspect as far as finding a corner for security."
That lack of socialization is what keeps the cats from receiving medical treatment. A vet checks on them each day. However, he said it's too dangerous for vets and volunteers to handle this many aggravated felines.
While some have perked up, Moriarty said other cats have gone downhill. The majority of the cats suffered from fleas, stomach parasites and upper repertory infections. Because of the ongoing court hearings, Moriarty was not able to share with NBC Action News the other illnesses the cats suffer from.
David Park, director of Kansas City Neighborhood and Community Services, explained, “Frankly, they're being supported right now by tax payer's dollars and we have to be mindful of how we spend our taxpayer dollars."
So far, housing the cats has cost Kansas City $40,000 out of an $800,000 yearly budget.
In a Clay County courtroom Wednesday, Park thought he'd win approval to give the cats to rescue groups or to euthanize the sick ones. Instead, the cat owner, Delores Metcalf was allowed more time to find a lawyer.
Metcalf faces charges of animal cruelty and keeping more than four animals in a home inside city limits. She declined our offer to speak on camera.
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Secret Santa, the man who makes thousands of people happy each Christmas season, invited me exclusively to go on another one of his "sleigh rides" this year.