October 2, 2014

More cats hiding in furnance, walls of Sioux City home, owner charged

Animal rescue workers continue to bring more starving cats out of a Sioux City home where over 50 starving or dead cats were first found Monday evening. The owner of the home, 56-year-old Mark Lanning, has been charged with 14 counts of animal neglect.

Sioux City police assisted animal control workers after obtaining a search warrant Monday and removed 46 live cats and 8 dead cats from the home. Cindy Rarrat of the Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue Center says 13 more live cats have been found — and there are still more in the home.

“What we’re having difficulty with is that these cats have three different floors on which to run. They are very scared and very shy from people, and so that’s why we’ve set traps,” Rarrat says. “And a lot of them are in the furnace, they’re in the walls and so it’s just going to take awhile, maybe take a week or two.”

Rarrat says the conditions in the home were unfit for humans or animals and that has made it hard to count the number of dead animals.

“It’s so difficult to tell because there is so much debris there, unless you dug through everything, it would be almost impossible. And they are in different stages of decomposition, so it’s very difficult to tell what is debris and what is a decomposed carcass,” Rarrat says.

She says the influx of cats has put a strain the shelter’s resources. “What we’ve had to do is employ added staff to come in and take care of the cats, because presently I have over 110 cats here at the facility. It’s taking a lot of extra man hours to take care of the cats,” Rarrat explains. Neighbors said no one had lived at the home for the past couple of month.

Rarrat is waiting for a court disposition hearing so they can start putting the cats up for adoption.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City