Animal hoarding overwhelms KC Shelter, impacts neighborhood

A Valentine resident is urging his Facebook friends to help rescue this kitten that recently showed up at his door. After a Valentine home containing 20 cats and six dogs was raided in June, neighbors say a large colony of feral cats, including numerous kittens, has spread out across the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the animal shelter is still caring for the six dogs taken in the raid.

A new animal hoarding case on July 26, on the heels of a Valentine hoarding situation in June, has led the Kansas City Pet Project to warn residents to be on the lookout for households that may be getting into trouble.  Hoarding is officially defined as keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability.

The Pet Project, a nonprofit organization that operates the Kansas City Animal Shelter,  says a new influx of cats from a northland home is once again overwhelming the shelter. The Pet Project’s Tori Fugate says the group hopes to get out the word that preventing animal hoarding is extremely important. “These hoarding cases are really overwhelming the shelters. We have animals coming in every day, but we are already at capacity.”

Fugate says the shelter is still dealing with the dozens of animals seized at a Valentine home July 2.  The 20 cats trapped inside and outside that home have mostly left the shelter, but the property owner has refused to allow the city to try to find homes for six dogs taken from the house. The owner faces a court hearing this fall that could lead to her being banned from owning animals in the future. In the meantime, the dogs are not officially the property of the shelter, meaning workers there can only feed and walk them and clear their cages, but are not allowed to play with them or find them new homes.

Fugate says neighborhoods should learn to identify the warning signs of animal hoarding. It often starts out as animal rescue but gets out of control over time. She says most hoarders are women in their 30s, usually employed and even college-educated.  She urges neighbors to be alert for signs of hoarding and to report any suspected case to the city before it gets out of hand. She recommends that neighbors work with the Spay and Neuter Clinic to trap feral cats, have them neutered and return them to the neighborhood. Spay and Neuter Kansas City (SNKC) ( is a nonprofit organization offering affordable spay and neuter services to help decrease pet overpopulation in the Kansas City area.

The city trapped several cats outside the Valentine home after the raid, but it is no longer trapping there. Neighbors report that a colony of outdoor cats from that property has dispersed throughout the neighborhood. One neighbor said a new group of feral cats has taken up residence in his neighbor’s garage, where 3-4 cats already living there were joined by 3-4 more last week. He says he is confused about how to deal with the strays.

“I am torn between putting out water for them during this drought and not. I don’t want them to hang around but don’t want them to suffer either,” the neighbor said.


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