They Had How Many Cats?

( – The more, the merrier does not always mean keeping animals in captivity, and a French couple has received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a permanent ban on pet ownership.

As the couple cohabited with nearly 159 cats and seven dogs, the Nice Criminal Court found the couple “guilty of animal abandonment due to the poor health condition” of the pets. They were also ordered to compensate animal welfare groups with over 150,000 euros.

Living in an 80-square-meter apartment in Nice, the couple shared their space with a multitude of animals.

In 2023, responding to a neighborhood dispute, police discovered dehydrated and malnourished animals with parasitic infections and injuries throughout the residence. Tragically, they found the bodies of at least two cats and two puppies in the bathroom.

At the trial’s end, the 68-year-old owner expressed her refusal to abandon her pets while she compared the situation to being denied the chance to have more children.

Despite acknowledging the animals as her cherished companions, she admitted to losing control of the situation. Likewise, she attributed the apartment’s deterioration and the animals’ condition to temporary issues, which included a feline infection and a debilitating heatwave.

A psychiatric evaluation diagnosed her with the “Noah syndrome,” or animal hoarding, indicating an uncontrollable impulse to accumulate animals without adequately caring for them.

The unidentified woman and her 52-year-old partner were facing eviction proceedings and an outstanding rental debt of 8,000 euros. Moreover, this was not their first encounter with authorities since in 2014, they were investigated for living with 13 cats and a dog in a tiny studio.

Despite this, the woman later rescued around 30 cats from an abandoned building out of fear they would be harmed, unknowingly triggering a cycle of overpopulation.

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