Multiple cats living in a filthy environment, like the cats rescued from a Chicago home
(Photo Credit: Serhii Ivashchuk | Getty Images)

36 Cats Rescued From Chicago Home, Woman Faces Charges

A 37-year-old woman in Auburn Gresham, Chicago, is in police custody after 36 neglected cats and three dogs were rescued from her home.

Ashley Burrell kept the animals in her rental bungalow, deceiving the public into thinking that she ran a licensed cat rescue. She’d often solicit funds from neighbors and on social media to care for the animals. However, the neglectful state that the cats and dogs were found in told a very different story.

36 cats and 3 dogs rescued from South Side home

According to ABC7 Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, together with the Chicago Animal Care and Control team, looked at Burrell’s home on Tuesday, April 2. This came after receiving a report of possible animal cruelty.

Authorities found felines and dogs living in a filthy environment inside Burrell’s home and began rescue operations. Consequently, Burrell was arrested on a misdemeanor count of “violating animal owner duties.”

Erica Roewade runs Cats in Action, a non-profit advocacy and outreach group for outdoor cats. She witnessed as animal control removed the animals from Burrell’s home. In a lengthy Facebook post, Roewade shared: “The house was in squalid, deplorable condition, with garbage and animal feces everywhere. Cats were living in the walls, and the stench and contamination issue was so terrible that Animal Control officers were seen entering the house in protective white suits.”

Curiously, CBS News has reported that 26 cats were rescued from the home instead of 36. The outlet revealed that Burrell would constantly ask for financial donations from neighbors to help support the animals. Janice Cohl, a neighbor, told the news outlet: “Every time she came to my house, it was $100 cash, always.”

According to Cohl, Burrell would never provide “vet records with receipts” when people requested her to. This further fuelled Cohl’s and other people’s suspicions that Burrell wasn’t providing and caring for the animals as she claimed.

Burrell risks facing additional charges as investigators continue looking into the case.

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