A cat waiting to be adopted at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. Credit: Courtesy of CBS 13

LEWISTON, Maine — Workers at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society say that this week was tough on their staff, as they helped state officials with transporting 83 cats and kittens that were seized from a Wales home.

“Well we caught it, and this is really great. This is our opportunity to help these animals,” Greater Androscoggin Humane Society Operations Manager Brandon Castner said.

State officials said that the animal control officers and Maine Animal Welfare officials executed the search warrant for the property. They said they got a tip that led them to investigate the property, and the owner was summonsed with animal cruelty.

Workers at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society say they’re evaluating the health of the cats at an undisclosed location.

“There were some upper respiratory infections, some eye injuries, nothing outside the normal for a hoarding case to that magnitude,” Castner said.

Castner said that the shelter is now preparing for the potential arrival of the seized cats.

“We prep by trying to make space in the shelter. Encouraging adoptions, so that when these animals need to come to the shelter, we can take them in,” Castner said.

He said that also includes bringing in more people to help out with the day to day operations.

“It’s recruiting extra staff, extra volunteers, prepping our transport vehicles, in order to offer the state as much assistance as we can,” Castner said.

The seized cats and kittens will continue to be held as evidence until state officials sign them over to the shelters. Castner said that anyone who wants to help out should adopt their current group of cats to help make room.

“[Working with seized animals] can be pretty challenging. So, we rely on the community to support us with adoptions, other shelter partners to step up and share in the burden,” Castner said.

Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is hosting an adoption event all weekend where customers can “name their own adoption fee” for cats. Officials at the shelter say that anyone who wants to wait for the seized cats should know they will need some extra care.

“They may need some help with socialization, gaining weight, all those types of things,” Castner said. “Stepping up and providing homes for these animals is going to be really important, but giving them time to adjust to a different type of living environment will be crucial.”

State officials said they don’t expect the property owners to be in court until January 2020.