Pet hoarding or animal rescue? Chester residents report more than 50 cats kept next door

CHESTER, Va. (WRIC) A Chester family says more than 50 cats fenced in next door are making their lives miserable. Angela and Phillip Allen claim the odor coming from over the fence has become a health issue, causing migraines, respiratory congestion and watery eyes. According to the Allens, the problem has been going on for more than a year at their Hidden Valley Estates home.

“My husband’s truck stays outside of our garage. In the early morning when he gets inside, he gets an instant headache,” said Angela Allen. “The smell is just atrocious.”

The Allens say the problem has become so severe that they rarely spend time outside their house anymore. “We can’t leave our garage doors open, our children can’t play basketball outside without instantly becoming congested, we have to wear masks to garden and do yard work,” said Allen.

“We can’t have cookouts and grill on our patio, we can’t have people over and enjoy the outdoors,and last but not least, we can’t sit on our porch,” Allen wrote in a letter to Chesterfield County administrator James J. L. Stegmaier.

Brenda Lamb, the cats’ owner, says she has taken in the animals to keep them safe and out of the streets.

“I keep them well. I take them to be spayed and neutered, make sure they get rabies shots,” Lamb said.

The Allens said the Health Department sent Lamb a letter informing her of the obtrusive odor and how to dispose of cat feces, but reported that their neighbors have not complied because the stench continues to linger and filter into their home.

Chesterfield County Animal Control confirms multiple visits to the property in recent weeks, but spokesperson Elizabeth Caroon says the animals are “not in any violation and are being cared for.”

There is no limit on the number of cats allowed on one Chesterfield County property. With animal control unable to step in, the Allens are now calling on other neighbors to speak up about the problem.

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