Accidental shooting leads police to home with over 70 cats

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KENSINGTON, N.H. (AP) — An accidental shooting led police in New Hampshire to a house that was overrun with more than 70 cats and was declared uninhabitable because it was covered with feline feces and urine.

Police in Kensington got a call from a hospital on Wednesday that a man was admitted to the emergency room with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Police went to the hospital and spoke to the man, who said he was cleaning a rifle and put it on a workbench when it fell to the floor and discharged a round, injuring him. Police concluded it was an accidental shooting.

Police also went to the home, where they initially found at least 30 cats.

“There was an overwhelming odor coming from inside the residence,” Kensington Police Chief Scott Cain said in a news release Friday. “It was discovered (the) inside was completely covered in feline feces and urine.”

Police called the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which removed 67 black and white cats on Wednesday. Five more were found on Friday.

Cain said that ammonia levels tested in the house were much higher than what is considered safe. A health officer was contacted, and “it was determined the residence was uninhabitable and was condemned immediately,” Cain said.

He said the cats’ health will be determined before any criminal charges would be brought forward. He said the man would face a charge related to the rifle discharge.

Based on preliminary exams of the cats, “they are in pretty good shape,” Lisa Dennison, executive director of the SPCA in Stratham, said on Friday. “Some were thinner, some were chunkier … you can imagine with 72 cats fighting over food, there’ll be winners and losers, just in terms of individuality and competing.”

She said the cats, who range in age from kittens to adults, are scared but friendly.

Dennison said the organization just cut the ribbon on a campus expansion last Saturday, and a week later, “we are using every single inch of that new space to quarantine and isolate this very large volume of cats.”

She directed adoption inquiries to the organization’swebsite.

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