HENDERSONVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Animal rescue groups said video shows dozens of cats living in filthy conditions inside a resident’s room at a Midstate senior living facility. But it’s what happened after the cats were discovered by the facility’s management that has animal rescue groups upset.
In the video, cats can be seen waiting at the door, hiding in the corners, and sitting on top of shelves and even the closet door. The room littered with trash and other waste.
"It was tragic it was obvious the cats had been left in for an extended period of time with no care," Donna Russell, founder of Feline Friends of Sumner County, said.
Russell and members of Freedom Farms Animal Sanctuary shared the video with NEWS4 taken from inside the one of the resident's rooms on the senior living side of the Red Cedar Glen facility in Hendersonville. The cats were found after a pest control inspection in July.
"The facility might’ve been panicked because the cats were in that room I don’t know how long," Russell said.
Management at the Red Cedar Glen facility told NEWS4 the cats were found inside a resident's independent living unit, meaning it is not state-regulated and staff need's permission to enter.
The facility went on to say a family member was staying with the resident and kept staff and visitors away from the problem until a required pest control inspection had to be performed, leading management to find the situation.
The two organizations said they immediately got involved to save the cats with fosters after a person who worked at the facility sent the video.
"We were virtually probably in the position we would have been able to remove the entire group by the end of the day," Russell said.
The two groups say they were kept away from the situation the next day, being told by the facility the cats were rescued. However Hendersonville and Sumner County Animal Controls tell NEWS4 the cats were collected and euthanized. That is why the groups are upset.
"There were 30 cats who could’ve had forever homes today and they're dead," Kathleen Wright with Freedom Farms said.
Sumner County Animal Control told NEWS4 by phone the cats were flea and bed bug infested and the veterinarian recommended the cats could not be adopted out. Officials at Animal Control said because of a lack of space, the cats were put down.
The rescue groups tell NEWS4 they deal with those problems all the time and should've had a greater opportunity to save the cats.
"We know there are times when we do have to euthanize animals. This wasn’t one of those times," Russell said. "The video shows they were friendly. They were standing there waiting to be greeted."
"We have to get to the point where animal Control and the rescue groups can work together," said Wright.
Hendersonville Police said no charges have been filed at this time while police continue to investigate.