182 cats seized from Del. property in suspected animal cruelty case; adopters sought

182 cats seized from property in Camden, Delaware

The rescue is believed to be the largest single hoarding case seizure in Delaware’s history. (Office of Animal Welfare)

Animal welfare officials are asking for the public’s help following a massive intake of neglected cats from Camden, Delaware.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, officers from the state’s Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) responded to a Kent County property, where 182 cats and one dog were seized from a suspected animal cruelty case. One deceased cat was also recovered.

OAW executed a search warrant after receiving a tip from the public about cats living in deplorable conditions.

Animal welfare officers and Brandywine Valley SPCA staff worked to safely remove the animals, who were transferred to the shelter for further evaluation and treatment.

182 cats seized from property in Camden, Delaware
Since the massive intake, Brandywine Valley SPCA staff has been working to help cats recover. (BVSPCA)

The rescue is believed to be the largest single hoarding case seizure in Delaware’s history.

Shelter officials called the cost of such an intake — including boarding for some of the cats and medical care for nearly 200 animals — “significant.”

“Many of the cats are underweight, many have flea dermatitis,” said Walt Fenstermacher, the BVSPCA’s director of programs, who helped lead the shelter’s intake. “Some have upper respiratory infections, all of which are fortunately treatable.”

An investigation by the OAW is ongoing, and charges are pending.

Adopters wanted

The BVSPCA, Delaware’s only no-kill open admission shelter, is now putting out a call for adopters.

Since Thursday’s raid, BVSPCA staff has been working to help cats recover and prepare for a better life.

Most of the cats are “remarkably comfortable” with humans, according to BVSPCA CEO Adam Lamb.

182 cats seized from property in Camden, Delaware
Many of the cats rescued are underweight and require further treatment before they are made available for adoption. (BVSPCA)

As of Tuesday, the nonprofit will have cats from the case up for adoption at all of its shelter locations.

“If you’ve been considering adopting,” BVSPCA officials said, “now’s the time to completely transform a cat’s life.”


Outside of seeking adopters for family cats, the shelter has a critical need for “working cat” placements for those who may be undersocialized, said BVSPCA spokesperson Linda Torelli.

“Many of these cats haven’t known the companionship of humans and may prefer to live an independent life,” Torelli explained.

182 cats seized from property in Camden, Delaware
Cats from the Camden, Delaware, case are now available for adoption at all of Brandywine Valley SPCA’s campuses. (BVSPCA)

The shelter is searching for adopters who can provide a cat with a safe environment where they can “live on their own terms,” while offering “natural rodent control” in return, Torelli said.

Non-traditional spaces for working cats include barns, warehouses, firehouses, breweries, churches, and art studios.

For folks who want to help but can’t adopt or foster, donations — whether monetary or of critical supplies like wet food and cat litter — are always welcome.

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