ARL of Iowa's handled four cat hoarding cases in just 10 weeks

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Four hoarding cases in the last 10 weeks have filled the Animal Rescue League's kennels with more than 200 cats--most recently on Wednesday where 36 animals were rescued from a Des Moines home.

ARL Animal Control Services Director Joe Stafford says he's never fully prepared for a hoarding case until he's actually on the scene.

"Experience tells me when an owner says there are 20 cats in a home, there's usually double that number."

Stafford says the rescues are physically exhausting.

"It does get trying where you're inside these houses. There's lot of hazards, not the least of which are the animals. You're concerned because the animals are injured, sick or dying...and time is of the essence."

Des Moines Police say Paula Schaefer, 70, faces animal neglect charges in Wednesday's hoarding case.

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