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Animal Control finds no abuse in alleged hoarding investigation

Boone County Animal Control has found no evidence of abuse or neglect in an alleged animal hoarding situation.

ABC 17 News received viewer video of the alleged hoarding Tuesday evening, around the time authorities were also notified of the situation.

“Whenever we get a call regarding cruelty, or anything, it is something we would respond to and check on,” Molly Aust said. Aust is an Animal Control supervisor for Boone County.

Animal Control investigated the situation and tells ABC 17 News they found 27 cats in various homemade, shelter structures.

“The cats had litter boxes, they had food, they had water. They had room to roam around with the exception of I believe three that were in crates,” Aust said.

Aust said those three were being kept in small crates in the back of a box truck. But were otherwise well taken care of.

“We talked to the owner and suggested that maybe he make better arrangements for those particular cats. Legally, what he is doing, is not really a problem,” Aust said. “But when you think about it, it is a very small space in a crate and those cats would probably like to stretch out and move around a little more than what they are able to.”

Aust said the law states animals must be provided with food, water, shelter, and vet care. She said the owner showed evidence of all of those and said the animals were in good health. Aust said if those basic needs are being met there is not much Animal Control can do.

“The law says adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care,” Aust said. “So when you look at the situation and you find fresh water, they all had food, shelter. There just isn’t a violation of the law.”

This incident took place outside of City of Columbia limits, which means there are less restrictions on how many animals a resident can keep.

“The city has an ordinance that only allows people to have four adult animals. So with him having 27 cats and being out in the county, that is perfectly legal because the county does not have a limitation number.”

Aust said even though they did not find evidence of abuse or neglect, getting a call from a concerned neighbor is still important and valued.

“We would like people to call when they are concerned. We are willing to talk to people, willing to let them know what the law says, let them know what we can and can’t do,” Aust said. “But if people are concerned enough to think ‘Maybe I need to look up Animal Control’s phone number,’ then we’d probably like to hear from them.”

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