Inquiry launched after locals rescue 20 cats kept in an abandoned house in Quebec

In Oka, Canada, animal protection services are looking into allegations that a lawyer abandoned over twenty cats in filthy conditions inside a house she owns. The pets had no clean water and were living in a cesspool.

Thankfully, concerned neighbors had raised the alert.

Financial clerk and Oka resident Josée Craig promotes animal welfare in her neighborhood. Last August, she read a troubling post on social media.

In the publication, a neighbor said cats had invaded an abandoned house next to hers. Mrs. Craig was worried about the animals and decided to look into the situation.

Sickened by what she saw, the animal right activist had to leave the property immediately. Josee told Le Journal de Quebec:

“You have to put on three or four masks to get into the house because it stinks so bad,”

The woman reported finding cat food but no water. Consequently, she wondered how the animals would survive the harsh Canadian winter.

Furthermore, there was a litter box in the bathroom, but the cats’ needs had obviously outgrown it.

Research revealed that the house actually belonged to a lawyer named Louise Harbour. The property owner herself lived in the nearby area of Montérégie.

The authorities conduct an investigation

The Montreal animal protection services (SPCA) was made aware of the situation and promptly launched an inquiry. Montreal SPCA investigation head Chantal Cayer stated that the house owner risks prosecution.

According to the Animal Welfare and Safety Act of Quebec, pet owners are responsible for providing a “sanitary, clean, and acceptable area” for their pets to live.

Besides, Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon has confirmed that a building inspection was performed. The assessment found negligence regarding building maintenance and sanitation.

Newspaper Le Journal reached out to owner Louise Harbour who admitted bringing fifteen to eighteen cats into the property as part of an effort to rescue them.

She explained:

“I do rescue (animal rescue) with friends. [I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,”  

She uses this house to keep cats that she then takes to Ontario, where shelters accept more animals than in Quebec.

There is no one living at the Oka residence on Rue des Pins.

Ms. Harbour refuted the claims of uncleanliness on the property, stating merely that someone came to feed and water the cat every two or three days. She expressed her disappointment over the unclean litter box.

Harbour has stated her intent to visit the site over the following days to ensure compliance with local standards. At last, she will no longer welcome kittens on this property.

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