41 cats removed from animal rescue organization owner's home

41 cats removed from animal rescue organization owner's Knoxville home

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41 cats were taken from a West Knoxville home where they were found in inhumane conditions. (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) 41 cats were taken from a West Knoxville home where they were found in inhumane conditions. (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Sheriff's Office Animal Control officers seized 41 cats Monday morning from an animal rescue home in West Knoxville.

Annette Traore, 46, owns the home and operates an animal rescue organization called "Almost Home Animal Rescue." She was cited for cruelty to animals.

Officers and two veterinarians from the Young-Williams Animal Center arrived at the home, 9013 Coburn Drive, around 11 a.m. Monday after receiving a complaint. There they found the cats housed in inhumane conditions.

Numerous cats were housed in various rooms of the basement, which was closed off from the rest of the house.

An ammonia smell was overwhelming and the cats' litter boxes were overflowing with waste. Standing urine and smeared cat waste were also on the floor.

One cat had its head stuck behind an unused refrigerator. It's unknown how long the cat was stuck in that position.

Furniture was covered in cat hair, dander, dirt and litter. The basement was almost completely dark because curtains, empty wire crates and extra large pet taxis were blocking the sliding glass doors and the windows. This also blocked the ventilation.

Traore told officers she didn't know how many cats were in the basement and said she didn't understand how the cats were being mistreated.

Three cats were also found in the garage and three dogs were found in the upper part of the house, but they were not seized because they were in humane conditions.

However, officers told Traore that under a Knox County ordinance, she could not have more than five animals on her property. She was instructed to reduce the number of animals to five within 30 days.

Traore refused to surrender ownership of the cats taken from her basement, so she will be responsible for all fees associated with their care at Young Williams.

Animal Control had been at the house twice before in the past year because of complaints. During those visits, owners voluntarily showed officers the three cats in the garage, but refused to let the officers inside the house and denied any cats were inside.

New information from a concerned citizen provided enough information to allow officers to obtain a search warrant for Monday's visit.

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