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Hoarded Cats Still in Adoption Limbo | News

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Hoarded Cats Still in Adoption Limbo

LAS VEGAS -- More than a dozen cats that survived one of the worst hoarding cases Las Vegas has ever seen are one step closer to adoption. The cats were legally released to the Lied Animal Foundation shelter, where they have been kept, clearing the way for behavioral and health assessments to determine if they can be given permanent homes.

The Sun City Summerlin home of Kenneth Epstein was piled from the floor to the ceiling with garbage along with 40 cats that were on the verge of death.

Andy Bischel of the Lied Animal Shelter said the surviving cats are doing well, given what they've been through. It still remains uncertain if they can even be adopted out.

"They came from a pretty horrific situation, just in a home unsocialized," Bischel said. "They will have a behavioral and health assessment by the staff over the next couple of days, and we'll have to determine their adoptability."

According to shelter officials, the 18 cats might be too scared or even overly aggressive to be placed into homes. The shelter has had to treat some cats suffering from respiratory illness and behavioral trauma.

For nearly two months, the Lied shelter has housed the cats pulled from Epstein's home.

Shelter officials said they aren't surprised by the case, but have seen many examples of animal hoarding throughout the valley.

"It's the feeding, the caring and the staff time, but it's what it requires on the back end too," Bischel said. "We just don't have the resources to socialize them."

If veterinarians determine the cats can't pass a behavioral and health assessment, they will be put down.

Epstein was charged with unjustifiable injury to animals, failure to have a permit to have so many cats and other crimes.

As part of his no contest plea, Epstein can't own any animals and has to pay more than $95,000 to the city for the clean up.

Some of the cats may be available for adoption by the weekend.


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