MUNCIE, Ind. — A Muncie woman faces an animal cruelty charge after dozens of cats were rescued from what officials call a “severe neglect situation.”
“This was one of the worst animal cases and the most deplorable living conditions I have seen in my 20 years of law enforcement.”Chief Nathan Sloan, Muncie Police Department.
As a result of the investigation, Reed faces seven counts of cruelty to an animal. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to seven years.
Court documents recently filed in the case follow Officer Kevin Pierce going through the home. Pierce described the conditions he found as “nothing short of squalor and just pure filth.”
WARNING: Descriptions of the conditions may be disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
Odor outside the home hints at what is to come
Muncie agencies went to Reed’s home on October 19, after concerned individuals asked them to investigate the welfare of the animals. The agencies included the Muncie Police Department, the Board of Health, and the Muncie Animal Shelter.
Officer Pierce with the Muncie Police Department reported a strong odor of ammonia emanating from the home.
The smell of ammonia is usually associated with pet odor. Pierce reported having to wear protective gear, including a gas mask, to protect himself from the strong odor. As Pierce entered the residence alongside Chief Sloan, Sgt. Qualls, and Investigator Ashton he immediately noticed numerous cats scattered about the living room.
Feces, filth and mold infuse rooms
Pierce reported that cat feces covered the home’s floor, walls, and furniture. Cats were even having active bowel movements as he and the other officers were investigating.
Towards the back of the home, Pierce noticed multiple animal crates containing cats. The cats appeared to be in poor health. He saw two full litter boxes, with litter and feces scattered over the floor.
Pierce tried getting into the next room but had to kick down the door due to the built-up filth on the door and the door frame. Filth and litter plugged the wall outlets. To his surprise, Pierce found two food and water bowls that “appeared as if it was fresh.”
If the rooms before were not gruesome enough, Pierce almost slipped on the floor of the kitchen due to the amount of filth on it.
“There was a moldy couch that had its springs exposed,” wrote Pierce. “Amongst all of the mold was more cat feces.”
Several boxes cat food lay on the floor next to stacked dinner plates. Filth riddled the sink, refrigerator, and stove.
“I opened the cabinets and found they also contained filth and food,” wrote Pierce. “There were loose trash bags which were full of garbage. The concentration of flies near the trash bags was absolutely disgusting.”
A bathroom just off of the kitchen had similar conditions to the entire house inspected so far. The toilet contained what Pierce described as “brown liquid inside with chunks and lumps,” most likely to be human feces. A cat and fishing net were among miscellaneous items inside the shower.
Decent into darkness
Around the corner from the bathroom, Pierce noticed a small room with stairs leading to the basement. The floor of this room was comprised of what Pierce believed to be old cat feces, cat hair, mold, and “just straight filth.” Paper towels covered the floor, soaked with cat urine and feces.
Pierce had to once again break a door down to enter the basement, but this time, he punched it. Beyond the door were stairs descending into darkness
Despite what he already witnessed upstairs, Pierce reported being shocked at what he found in the basement. Shining a flashlight around, Pierce saw piles of what he described as a “cocktail of litter.”
“I could tell the piles were deep, but I did not want to use my yardstick to measure just how deep it was as I did not want to contaminate it,” Pierce wrote.
Also in the basement were two filth-covered washers and a dryer. Pierce reported filth in the two washers. The dryer, however, was somewhat clean.
Back upstairs, Pierce reported other small rooms he reports as a cesspool of filth. Litter containers were stacked in the hallways with cats roaming the rooms and hallway.
“I could not even see the actual floor in the room because it was piled with the cocktail of filth,” Pierce reported. “The smell was so intense up here that I could smell the odor through my mask.”
Cats rescued from squalor; home condemned
Employees from the Humane Society of the United States assisted Muncie authorities in rescuing the cats from Reed’s house. Many of the cats needed veterinary care.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says she looks forward to efforts to give these cats a new beginning.
“These cats are suffering—I haven’t seen animals living in conditions like this before. Walking around, you have to be careful not to slip in the layers of filth. These cats are gentle, sweet, and crave attention,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to the City of Muncie for intervening. I’m honored to be working alongside our rescue team as we help give these cats a new beginning.”
At the time of the investigation, city officials reported that the property would be condemned.
Photos of the soon-to-be-condemned home