wplg logo

House of horrors: More than 60 cats found alive, some dead in Sunrise home

A former volunteer for an feline rescue organization ends up as the focus of one of the worst cases of hoarding and animal abuse the group says they have ever seen.
A former volunteer for an feline rescue organization ends up as the focus of one of the worst cases of hoarding and animal abuse the group says they have ever seen.

SUNRISE, Fla. – Rescuers that came in and took out more than 50 cats that were found at a home tell Local 10 News that this was one of the worst hoarding situations they have ever seen.

And the most disturbing part? The person responsible was once one of their volunteers.

In Sunrise, rescuers encountered feces on the ground, cats living and dead throughout the house, but one thing that was nowhere to be found was food.

“My first reaction was to help the animals because everybody talks about what part hurt the most or what part was the worst. For me it was all of these little faces trying to get out of a building,” Gina Vlasek, President of Saving Sage Animal Rescue, said. The rescue organization was the group that took in most of the cats that were pulled out over the last several days.

“We’re not animal control. We were not prepared to take on this amount of cats,” she said.

Vlasek said they found skeletons of cats that died a long time ago and cats that died within the last 12 hours. There were also felines that were starving.

51 cats were found alive and about 10 were found dead inside the home, according to Vlasek.

What Vlasek said she found most disturbing was that the woman who lived in the house was once one of their volunteers.

“This is somebody that we knew, that we tried to help,” she said.

Vlasek said the once reliable, caring woman suddenly started to change and began failing to take care of the animals she was asked to. So, she was told they no longer needed her services.

“We had to let her go. That’s before we discovered what was going on in the house,” she said.

But the red flags led another rescuer to go check on the woman and that’s when they found the horrific scene.

“It’s definitely one of the worst hoarding cases that I’ve ever seen,” said Vlasek.

“She had every opportunity not to do this to the animals that she claimed that she loved. This isn’t love, this is selfish. There’s no excuse for this type of abuse. No excuse,” said Vlasek.

Sunrise police are investigating and charges are likely pending. Local 10 News tried to reach out to the former volunteer, but we did not receive a response.

All of the cats are being treated and will soon be up for adoption.

For more information about the cats that will be looking for forever homes, contact https://savingsagerescue.org/


About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.