Couple Banned from Pet Ownership After Hoarding 159 Cats

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.05 - 2024 8:08 AM CET

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
A couple in Nice, France, has been legally barred from keeping any pets due to the dire conditions in which they kept 166 animals.

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In a disturbing case emerging from Nice, France, a couple has faced legal repercussions for the severe mistreatment and hoarding of animals in their apartment.

The BBC reports that a 68-year-old woman and her 52-year-old partner have been banned from owning pets after authorities discovered they were living in an 80 square meter apartment with 159 cats and 7 dogs under appalling conditions.

A Shocking Discovery

The situation came to light in 2023 when police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the couple's residence. What they found inside was far beyond the scope of a mere quarrel. The apartment was overrun with animals suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and parasitic infections. The law enforcement officers discovery of at least four dead animals in the bathroom.

The court heard that the couple's descent into animal hoarding began in 2018 when the woman took in three cats and three dogs from her parents. Her compulsion to "save" animals led her to rescue an additional 30 pets from an abandoned house nearby. Unchecked, the number of animals in the small apartment ballooned as the pets began to reproduce.

Legal and Psychological Repercussions

During the trial, the woman expressed remorse, acknowledging her mistake despite claiming the animals were "the love of her life."

A psychiatric evaluation diagnosed her with "Noah syndrome," a disorder characterized by a compulsion to save animals without the means to care for them properly. This diagnosis sheds light on the psychological aspects of animal hoarding, a condition that often leads to such tragic outcomes.

The court's response was to impose a permanent ban on pet ownership for the couple, alongside a suspended one-year prison sentence.

They were also ordered to pay over 150,000 euros in damages to animal protection organizations.

The Fate of the Animals

While the court's ruling delivers some measure of justice,it also raises questions about the future of the animals removed from the couple's care. Currently, the destiny of 166 cats and dogs remains undisclosed.

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