The Saladis surrendered 118 cats recently from their tiny, dirty mobile home in St. Anthony. This wasn't the first time. In 2002, they had to give up 72 cats from their home in Coon Rapids.
This cycle will continue forever until the courts put a stop to it.
"If I'm still here in six years, I guarantee I'll be dealing with the Saladises again," said Keith Streff, investigator with the Animal Humane Society, the agency rescueing the emaciated and diseased kitties.
The floors and doors in the Salidis' 500-square-foot trailer home were rotted from poop and urine. The humans slept on a mattress, on the floor of their tiny kitchen. They had cat potty on their clothes, bedding, everything. The home was also crammed with hundreds of dolls and garbage. The toilet didn't work and there was no running water.
"The conditions were absolutely deplorable," said Kathie Johnson, director of animal services for the humane society. "It was one of the worst houses I've ever been in. It was literally wall-to-wall cats."
There were few signs of the population outside the home, other than a whiff of urine that some residents smelled while passing the home.
Help is hard to find for animal hoarders. "Recidivism" or animal hoarding usually happens to people who have had very dysfunctional childhoods and have issues of abandonment and neglect. Their hearts go out to any abandoned creature, losing sight of the limits to their capacity to offer proper care to the animals. Reinforcing the hoarding behavior, the animals give their humans a feeling a security and stability.
Hoarding is a psychological problem and the Saladis need help. They, and the cats of the world, need a court order forbidding the Saladis from ever owning an animal again. They also need regular visits, forever, to make sure there aren't any new cats.