The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has authorized charges against owners of a West Bloomfield house for what’s said to be the largest animal hoarding case in the county’s history.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said Jonathan and Jennifer Klein are being charged with abandoning/cruelty to 10 or more animals after 178 cats were removed in recent weeks from a house they own on Elsie Drive. Dozens were euthanized.
Arraignment is expected next week. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison.
According to authorities, many of the cats taken from the house were suffering from various health issues including upper respiratory infections, fleas, skin infections, ear mites and malnutrition. Several were pregnant.
The issue came to light April 24 when an animal control office went to the home to perform a welfare check after a complaint was filed for cats that were believed to be abandoned inside the house. The execution of a search warrant initially turned up at least 100 cats inside. Removal of the cats, which totaled 178, continued through mid-May, authorities said.
The Kleins subsequently released ownership of all the cats to the county’s shelter. Authorities said they didn’t live in the house with the cats, which had been collected over a number of years.
In a news release issued last month, Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center Manager Bob Gatt said that it was the worst animal hoarding case he’d ever seen.