Multiple agencies and officials converged on a West New York home on 51st Street earlier today, with animal control rescuing 18 cats from the residence. Unfortunately, one cat was also found dead.
Multiple officials, including a caseworker for Hudson County Protective Services, showed up to 538 51st St. around 10:30 a.m. this morning in response to multiple complaints of unsanitary conditions in and around the home.
A clear stench of ammonia filled the air as soon as the front door was opened and animal control headed inside to canvass the building to trap the cats and get them to a nearby veterinarian office.
The tenant, Eugene Pecorelli, 76, who said he’s lived in the building for 65 years, declined to go on camera but told Hudson County View that he considered the animals his pets and also admitted that “he couldn’t keep up” with the responsibilities of taking care the nearly two dozen cats.
Several neighbors, who declined to go on camera, said Pecorelli took good care of the animals – though one man said the smell from the residence was “awful.”
The condition of the inside of the home was, at best, deplorable, so viewer discretion is advised. Inside of the home, floors, ceilings and furniture were all badly rotted and appeared to be covered with cat feces.
The dishwasher, sink and stove weren’t even close to functioning and it’s anyone’s guess how Pecorelli actually slept in his bedroom.
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue showed up around 1 p.m. to shut off the gas, West New York police oversaw the scene throughout the day and the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stopped by as well.
Furthermore, the West New York building department deemed the house uninhabitable and officials said that Pecorelli will be staying with his brother in North Bergen while the situation is being sorted out.
Geoff Santini, West New York’s animal cruelty investigator, one of three individuals who rescued 18 cats inside the house, also found one dead feline and revealed that traps will need to be placed to safely capture the remaining handful of animals still inside.
Santini clarified that the animals would be checked out at the Cats Exclusive Veterinary Hospital in Ridgefield and would then be sheltered at Bergen County Protect and Rescue in Cliffside Park.
Santini concluded that the investigation is ongoing and no citations have been issued to Pecorelli as of yet.