City demolishes cat hoarder’s home with some cats inside

The home was standing on the 300 block of Greenwood Street in the West Side of Youngstown, Ohio, USA. It was the home of a cat hoarder in which almost a hundred cats lived together with a large population of rats apparently. It has been demolished because it became uninhabitable and I presume had become a health concern for the local authority.

Cat house demolished
Cat house demolished. Staff photo by David Skolnick
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The story states that the woman who lived there had been taken to hospital for an evaluation. Her cats were removed before the demolition and are in the care of an animal welfare charity. However, it is reported that some cats remained in the home as it was being demolished. Although that part of the report is not completely clear.

Even more cats were caught as the house came down.

There are some gaps in the reporting because when you demolish someone’s home you have to be concerned about human rights. I don’t know if the home was owned (rather then rented) by the woman but it’s certainly possible. In which case it had some value because of the land on which it rested has value.

Land values in America are generally lower than those in Europe because of a lower population density. However, I would expect the land to be worth several thousand dollars at least. The question that I’m getting to is, was the lady compensated?

Despite the home being declared uninhabitable, it was still the home of a woman. And people become attached to their home. For her, the large number of cats were not a problem. It probably looked disgusting to outsiders but not to her. The rats? She probably simply put up with them and it is disappointing that the cats did not keep them away!

Neighbours had complained – which is usually the case in these circumstances – about the cat and rat problem and the strong stench which emanated from the house for almost a year. This probably expedited the demolition of the property.

As I understand it, the usual practice under these circumstances is for the local authority to purchase the property under a compulsory purchase order, perhaps granted by a judge, which allows the local authority to compensate the former owner with the amount of the purchase price. The big question is how is that price assessed? This too is probably confirmed by a judge in order to avoid abuses of human rights which are commonplace in certain countries with respect to the demolition of homes to expand city centres and to make them more attractive to visitors.

Without stating the obvious, it is important to protect the human rights of everybody in the same way even if they are an elderly, cat hoarding woman who is probably regarded by many as less important than the mayor of the town or some other dignitary. They are all exactly equal in the eyes of the law and with respect to human rights.


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