Cat Dies In Abandoned House

By Elisa Black-Taylor

This is a very distressing story about a cat who died over the weekend in a abandoned house. I call this “Cat Dies In Abandoned House.” But there are many other problems involved in the overall story. At the end, I’d like for the readers at to comment on whether you would break into a house if necessary to save the life of a cat.

The story made the news on Monday, December 6, 2010 out of Kissimmee, which is located in Osceloa County, Florida. Apparently the cat had been alone in the abandoned house for around a month, perhaps longer. A neighbor, Santiago Sandoval, took a photo of the cat through the door of the home. I won’t show that picture here because it’s too distressing to read the story and see the cat at the same time. The cat is still alive in the photo. It’s just heartbreaking. The entire story can be read and the photo seen here.

This entire situation leaves me angry at the world. At the renter who just moved off and left their cat. At the homeowner who never bothered to check on the place after the renter moved. At the officials who say their hands were tied until it was too late.

Lee Radevaugh, Director of Osceola County Animal Control, said there has to be probable cause to ask a judge for an order to break into a private residence. The police look at breaking and entering for any reason as a crime. I guess where fire or other emergencies are concerned a person may get away with it. But animals aren’t far enough up on their priority list for anyone to help.

The police department has already stated they’re already short-handed on the weekend and other cases took priority. This was reported over the weekend. It was just too little too late.

I don’t know whether to be angry at the neighbor who finally did report this. To be honest, I think I’m very angry. If you read the story linked above, you’ll see this neighbor did keep checking on the cat. At first the cat didn’t seem in distress. My guess is the cat became more vocal over time as it died of starvation. A necropsy (cat autopsy) is being performed to determine the cause of death.

One of my heroes would have done something if he’d known about this. Here’s a story I’d like for you to read about animal activist Hans Peterson from California. And yes, he was arrested for entering an abandoned home to rescue a dog. It’s nice to know some people will go to this extreme to save a life. I follow his animal rescue very closely in the hope I’ll learn a few things from his adventures. Hans is a wonderful role model.

I’m mad at the local laws for not covering something like this. There really needs to be some kind of provision in animal cruelty laws so this NEVER happens again. I don’t know of any animal cruelty provision anywhere that allows a rescue under these circumstances. There should be one.

Unfortunately, with the rate of foreclosures and people moving off abandoning their pets, I’m afraid we’ll read of many more stories like this one.

There have been many comments come into the original news posting of this where people said that cat would still be alive if they had lived in the neighborhood. Maybe so. Maybe not. The risk of being arrested for breaking and entering is one not to be taken lightly.

I hope those reading my story will remember to keep an eye out for this type of situation. I’m not saying to go break into an abandoned property and get yourself arrested. If something seems “off” it needs to be investigated. In other words, if you see an animal who needs help, quit looking the other way and hope someone else will intervene. You may be the only hope that animal has.

I did a story on abandoned dogs on If it had been a cat story I would have submitted it to This does reinforce my belief that animal abandonment is going on everywhere. I don’t remember seeing as many cases of this kind of cruelty 25 years ago. Are people more cruel, more desperate?

So who are YOU, the reader, angriest at? If you had this cat for a neighbor, would it be alive today?


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Cat Dies In Abandoned House

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Aug 25, 2011Been there, done that…
by: Kitty N

There is an abandoned house across the street from me. One night, I saw a kitten (about 5 months old) get hit by a car and then run into the house, through one of the broken basement windows. It’s about a 6 foot drop from the window to the floor. My friend an I grabbed some flashlights and headed over. We found the terified ktten and tried to get it. It got way from us. We had left the front door open. We could not find that kitten anywhere. We searched the small house for 45 minutes to no avail. All we could do was hope it had gotten out the front door… It had an obvious leg injury.

I had to go back into that house recently when a neighborhood feral cat had some kittens in there. The mother cat had been trapped by the city and taken away. Once again grabbed the flashlights and headed over. We collected the kittens and put them in a carrier. On our way out of the house, we saw the remains of the poor kitten who had been hit. I can’t even think of the suffering that poor baby went through… It haunts me every day…

The kittens we did save were taken to a local shelter and adopted.

Mar 07, 2011I agree
by: Rose

I agree with Ruth and Gail, don’t trust anyone outside your own home with the truth.
You did a great thing saving that cat and she deserves a happy life with you because that person would only neglect her again if she got her back.
You are amongst friends Velvet,I think we’ve all probably told a few lies in our time to protect cats from scum who get hold of them.
GOOD LUCK to you.

Mar 07, 2011Velvet is a hero
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

Thank you Velvet for what you did for Missy. Ruth is absolutely right! I also agree with Ruth about lying to the neighbors – even if any of them are your “friends.” Neighbors argue and have a falling out; you don’t want to make the mistake of confiding in any of them, nor do you want to chance that a neighbor may know the girl, just like Ruth advised.

Make sure the girl who abandoned the cat understands she’s in a lot of trouble when the authorities find her and keep Missy yourself! She would’ve died had you not intervened. It’s amazing she survived as long as she did before you got her. Good job!

Mar 07, 2011To Velvet
by: Ruth

Well done for rescuing that kitten and not letting that animal abuser have her back !
If she comes around any more say something like you’d just heard an Animal Welfare worker had been a week after she moved and taken the cat away and been asking around who she belonged to and whoever she did belong to was in serious trouble for neglecting her because she died.
Tell your other neighbours the same and if anyone sees Missy, deny it’s the same cat, say you’ve had yours since she was a tiny kitten. They can’t prove otherwise as I’m sure she must look much healthier and happier since you took her in. I very much doubt such an uncaring person would have had her microchipped.
Keep the truth to yourself just incase another neighbour is a friend of hers !!
It’s awful having to lie but for Missy’s sake you need to so there is no chance of that low life person getting her back.
You did the right thing Velvet !!!!

Mar 06, 2011I did it
by: Velvet

I live in an apartment complex and the neighbors on the other side of the wall moved out three weeks prior to us hearing their abandoned cats cries. We knew no one was over there and the door was unlocked so we went to check it out. This cat is no more than 6 months old, NO FOOD, NO WATER. Just an open toilet bowl with old piss in it 🙁 Poor babbyy

So we took it and got it fed within a half hour (we had to go get cat stuff, kind of unexpected) and named it Missy

Only a few nights later the girl came knocking on her door freaking out about her cat. We lied, she can’t have it back. She doesn’t deserves to care for this precious innocent creature. But she thinks we have it and is asking around. I’m very afraid she’s going to find out.

Technically we broke and enteres then cat burglarized them… even if they were filthy animal abusers, I’d go to jail.

I don’t get how you can take pictures of that cat and call the police and such but not leave the cat SOMETHING to eat or drink. Clearly their neighbors didn’t care enough

Dec 13, 2010me too
by: kathy w

Without a second thought that window would have been broken and that cat would have been out of there Laws, no laws, whatever I wouldnt of had to give it a moment even. I dont know if there are laws against this but there needs to be. I beleive I told you about the neighbor I once had who let their cat out to live on mice and whatever because they thought they lived in the country and the cat could survive on its own. Then after they moved they contacted me for a kitten. Ha ha what a joke absolutely not, not ever. People always move and leave their animals behind. To most people animals are disposable objects. I hate this and there should be a law against abandoning animals. Especially with so many shelters around.

Dec 11, 2010Right of necessity
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

I would first of all contact the landlord and in very clear language explain that unless action were taken by him, trouble with the law would be ahead. Because the moment the landlord knows, it also becomes his responsibility.
But if nobody seemed to take action, I too would tresspass in order to save the cat. I believe that to in accordance with the right of necessity.

Finn Frode avatar

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Dec 10, 2010My thought
by: Susan

I’d break in without giving it a second thought. The whole story is horrible, but the neighbor waiting a month to contact anyone is the worst.

Dec 09, 2010We Need A Law
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

While following this subject, it occurred to me that as much as we may feel for these poor souls, nothing will ever be done until the laws change. Having said that, it would be a powerful thing if everyone on this site could spare a few moments to contact their local/state/federal representatives and email, write or call to request that a bill be introduced and passed to accommodate abandoned animals in these situations.

Exigent circumstances should’ve prevailed in this case to regarding trespassing laws. After all, if it were a human, no one would’ve balked at breaking in. The problem remains that animals are still thought of as chattel. Quite outdated.

Common sense needs to prevail. Too bad it takes a groundswell movement to force these laws into place. We elected these officials. It’s time that they work for us in a meaningful way.

Dec 09, 2010With Leah
by: Michael

I am with Leah. I hate people who are cruel to animals. It is very ignorant, low level, immoral behavior. I feel like being cruel to them to see how they like it. They need teaching a lesson that they will not forget.

Michael Avatar


Dec 08, 2010I agree
by: Leah (England)

Phil I agree. Whats wrong with the world when a cat cries for help because he needs to be rescued and the very people that can help turn their backs.

That poor cat never asked to be adopted by the vile scum that left him to die and he never asked to be locked in either.

Its just awful. I would break in without a second thought.

Why oh why would they do that knowing he would starve to death? Why not set him free and give him a chance? If they did that to him it just makes me wonder what else he’s gone through at their hands.

If theres one thing I hate on this earth more than anything its animal cruelty. The people that perpetrate these acts must have such inadequacies and be so evil the only way they can get their kicks is by torturing innocent animals who cant speak for themselves.

Dec 08, 2010Hans Peterson
by: Elisa

I don’t know if Hans has gone to trial yet for breaking in to save the puppy. This happened in late August. I googled Hans Peterson animal rights activist and nothing came up besides his arrest.

Dec 07, 2010Me too
by: Rose

I’m with Ruth.I’d have given the authorities one chance to respond immediately but if they didn’t I’d have been straight in there through a window.
They couldn’t charge me having been given first chance to sort it themselves.

Dec 07, 2010Answer
by: Susie Bearder


Dec 07, 2010Hans IS a Hero!
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Elisa, I’m with you – Hans is a role model even if he did break the law by rescuing the dog. Was there ever a follow-up story? Did the dog get adopted or did he eventually get put down? What happened to Hans?

The thing that bugs me the most is that a judge DID issue an order for entry to the house! Why did it take a month for the neighbor to do anything? Had he screamed from the beginning and got the local media involved in the beginning, we wouldn’t be reading this story and the cat would be alive today!

Dec 07, 2010Gail
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

Thats exactly what I’d do!

Dec 07, 2010Law Be Damned!
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I, too, would’ve broken into the house to rescue the cat and worried about the consequences later. The difference would be that I would NOT call the authorities since I already know nothing would/could legally be done. I’d just do it. Period.

Dec 07, 2010All those who did nothing were to blame
by: Ruth

All those people who did nothing to save that cat were to blame almost as much as the low life scum who moved and left the cat locked in to starve.
I would most definately have broken into that house after seeing that cat crying for help if no one in authority would have helped immediately.
Hang the consequences when a life is at stake whether a persons or an animals.
I’m thankful every day that we live in a neighbourhood where we watch out for each other, each others children,pets and property.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Dec 07, 2010I would have broken in immediately!
by: Pamela

omg….the neighbor must have had something to hide not to go in and save that poor little baby…it looks like a ragdoll!!

I can not believe this horror. I feel the animal control and the police department should be charged with animal cruelty!! This is the only way to go! Is it possible?

I would have broken in with no question! I would worry about consequences later.

Dec 07, 2010this world sucks
by: Anonymous

that is such BS!! the cops have the autority to break in a place if a life is in jepordy be it animal or human!!!!! they just don’t care! yes I would of broke in. I would of paid for the window if I had to, but I would of broke in!

Dec 07, 2010There could be charges
by: Elisa

If the owners are ever found they could be charged. I’m like you. I’d break in but I couldn’t get caught. If I so much as get a speeding ticket I could lose my S.L.E.D. license to be in the security field. You have to have a spotless criminal record. I’d probably just break the cat out and never say anything to anyone. One more cat in my household wouldn’t be noticed. But I won’t let one starve to death like that.

Dec 07, 2010Rebel
by: Michael

Thanks for the story Elisa. As you say it is very distressing for people like us but apparently not for the person who did it nor the police etc..

I believe that I would have found a way to save that cat legally or otherwise. The person who abandoned the cat can’t be found, I presume. He or she committed a crime. I feel pretty sure that there is no law that legally allows a person to break into property to save an animal. As you say, it is about rights. Animals don’t really have them when push comes to shove.

I am a bit of an anarchist so I don’t mind breaking the law provided no one gets hurt (except me) and some good is done. The law can be stupid sometimes.

Death by starvation is unpleasant. Many people die of starvation too. We should think of them as well. I remember a film of a very thin and distressed young women in North Korea who was asked what she ate – “nothing” was the reply. She had been cutting grass to eat. Millions are starving there.

Michael Avatar


Dec 07, 2010Life is life
by: Phil (London)

I think that there is a world of difference between breaking into a private, inhabited house, and breaking into an abandoned property on humane grounds.

If I had been the neighbour, it would not have crossed my mind to wait for permission from the authorities to rescue a cat that was starving to death, when even a day’s delay could have meant the difference between life and death. Sadly, had it been a child left in an abandoned house, this story would have had a completely different outcome; I don’t mean to suggest that the life of a cat should be considered equal to a human’s, rather that ALL life should valued and protected.

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