When Niagara Regional Police entered a home in Welland, Ontario recently, they were shocked. Originally there to evict a married couple for non-payment of taxes, the officers quickly realized they were in over their heads. When they opened the door, a swell of cats poured out into the yard.

“The total was 146 living cats,” John Greer, executive director of the Ontario Humane Society, said. “The number of deceased animals is unknown, unfortunately, there were too many to actually count.”

“It was a sea of cats, literally, coming out of the house. And the smell was, well, it just knocked you back,” officer Teddy Weyland said.

Here’s the story per CBC:

The humane society in Welland, Ontario, is spaying, neutering and vaccinating as quickly as it can after 146 cats were seized last week from a home. 

There were so many cats, executive director John Greer said, that the shelter had to shut down for an afternoon just to handle them all.

“We’ve never, ever seen numbers like that from inside one home.”

The humane society first found out about the problem on Feb. 8, when Niagara Regional Police and local bailiffs were evicting a married couple from a home in the King Street and Ontario Road area.

“When the bailiffs entered the home to change the locks, it was just cats everywhere,” Greer said.

Humane society workers rushed to the home and started the process of moving the cats to the society’s facility. Most are young adults or kittens, and some were pregnant. Three cats were born during the trip.

He believes it may be a “hoarding situation” that allowed the cat population to spiral inside the home.

“Cats breed very rapidly, and it just gets out of control,” he said.

Animal control officers are conducting an “open investigation” into the man and the woman who had been living at the home.

“If it’s a mental health issue. We don’t generally look at charges,” Greer said.

And while we understand that, obviously, there are serious mental health issues involved here, it doesn’t excuse the fact that these animals were subjected to unimaginable cruelty. We believe the best way to deal with these situations is to prosecute to the full extent of the law.

What do you think? Send them to jail or send them to therapy?