Landlord cries foul over alleged cat hoarding

A Thunder Bay rental property owner says she's lost money because of a neighbour hoarding animals.

Thunder Bay landlord says tenants moving out due to stench from neighbour's cat collection

Wire fencing surrounds a backyard in Thunder Bay's Westfort area, where 46 cats allegedly live.

A Thunder Bay rental property owner says she's lost money because of a neighbour hoarding animals.

April Roukema said a nearby resident has dozens of cats near her rental property in the Westfort area.

Some tenants have moved out in the past, because they can no longer stand the odour from the neighbouring property, she said.

"Holes that have been cut in the home itself to allow access for the cats to come and go," she said. "But the smell from the urine is unbearable."

Cats sleep in a structure in a backyard of a Westfort home. Neighbours say dozens of cats live at the residence and the resulting stench of cat urine can be unbearable. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

When Roukema bought the house five years ago, she said it was cool out and didn’t notice the smell.

"It's kind of a good thing we haven't had a hot and humid summer," she continued. "Because that's when the smell becomes unbearable."

CBC News couldn't verify the number of cats on the property, but several could be seen in the yard on Thursday and the smell of cat urine could be detected.

Symptom of a bigger problem?

Roukema said the Humane Society has told her there is nothing it can do about the issue.

The society receives four-to-six calls a year about animal hoarding, according to executive director Glen Wilson.

"We agree with the way the city has voted on this, and to keep things the exact same," he said, referring to the city’s decision to not look at limiting the number of pets in Thunder Bay households.

"It's the ones where all the sudden there's 30 or 40 or 100 animals that are in a house … it's a real issue."

Wilson said what's needed most are more supports for people with mental health issues, as hoarding animals can be a sign that help is needed.

The Humane Society confirmed the city's Animal Services department took roughly 10 cats and two dogs from a home on Dease Street on Thursday, and Humane Society investigators will be following up with the numerous other cats that remain in the home.