CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nineteen cats and three dogs are looking for homes after being taken by authorities from a Market Drive home on Charleston's West Side late Tuesday afternoon.
Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association Director Chelsea Staley said Metro 911 contacted the animal shelter about 4 p.m. Tuesday in response to a domestic call. She said a couple lived at the home and the husband wanted his wife's animals out of the house.
"The tenant called on themselves," Staley said.
Both Kanawha County humane officers responded to the call. Charleston's two humane officers would typically respond to calls in the city, but one recently retired and the other was on leave Tuesday.
Staley and another shelter worker accompanied the officers to the home. She called the home's condition "deplorable" and was surprised the building hadn't been condemned.
"There was poop everywhere," she said. "There were paper plates of food everywhere. There was no furniture ... The ceiling fan was hanging by the electrical cords. You could smell the house from the street."
Staley said the couple was cooperative, and the woman was "distraught" that she had to give up the animals.
By 6 p.m., the humane officers and shelter workers had removed the animals and taken them to the shelter for examination and intake. The late-day call and sheer number of animals meant the shelter staff had to quickly prepare a place for the animals and ready litter boxes and food.
"The staff here rallied to get ready," Staley said.