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More than 30 cats removed from apartment

OSPCA agents executed a warrant on a south side apartment complex after tenants forced to call fire department because of smell.

THUNDER BAY - Tenants living in a south side apartment complex watched as dozens of cats were carried out of the building in crates a week after Thunder Bay Fire Rescue were called to the building because of a strong smell of ammonia.

On Wednesday, local agents with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized more than 30 cats from a Cummings Street apartment complex following the execution of a warrant.

“For at least the two years I have been living here this has been an ongoing situation,” said tenant Michel Magan. “The landlord is trying the best he can to get control of the smell. But she is up to about 28 cats in that small apartment.”

Thunder Bay Fire were originally called early last week because of a suspected ammonia leak. It was determined the source of the smell was coming from a second floor apartment.

“Going upstairs to my apartment, I’m almost puking because of the smell being so bad,” Magan said.

The Thunder Bay District Humane Society and OSPCA agents were called, but the woman living in the unit became non-compliant, forcing agents to seek a warrant.

According to OSCPA agent, Kamil Wierzbicki, approximately 30 cats were removed from the apartment, which included several litters of kittens.

Wierzbicki could not comment on the health of the cats and said they will be assessed by a veterinarian at the Humane Society, which will determine the next steps for the animals.

“Hopefully they are all healthy and not feral,” he said. “If they are all healthy and not feral then we can adopt them out. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.”

This is not the first time OSPCA agents have removed a large number of cats from an apartment complex and Wierzbicki said there are no laws in the city preventing someone from owning that many animals, which he believes needs to change.

“Thunder Bay needs to get something in order for having a restriction on how many can be in a house or an apartment, because right now there isn’t one,” he said. “In a situation like this, there’s nothing wrong with someone having more than 30 cats in an apartment, as long as the conditions are sanitary and they are well taken care of. But that said, in a small apartment of maybe 12 by 12 feet, that’s not good welfare for the cats.”

Magan said the landlord and caretaker have tried to remedy the problem in the past but have been unsuccessful.  

“What about the animals?” he said. “Don’t they have rights? That’s cruelty to them to be living through something like this. I’m an animal love myself, but there’s a limit.”

Wierzbicki said the investigation is ongoing.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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