‘Walls were covered in mucus’: Nearly 80 cats removed from small Sedalia home

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SEDALIA, Mo. – Police in Sedalia said 78 cats were recovered Wednesday from a small home on S. Prospect Avenue.

Two people, 37-year-old Ferdinand Bucayan and 59-year-old Teodora Dalumpines, were arrested, and charges of animal abuse and neglect are pending.

Authorities said many of the cats were in need of immediate medical care. Deceased kittens were found in bags inside the home, and 27 deceased cats were found buried in the backyard.

“The walls were covered in mucus and snot from these cats,” said Randi Battson, manager of the Sedalia Animal Shelter. “I think every single one of them, at the bare minimum, has an upper respiratory infection. Many of them have far more serious conditions to recover from.”

An anonymous tip first about unhealthy animals living in the home first alerted authorities to what they are calling an extreme animal hoarding situation.

Battson said it was a team effort between police, fire, the Pettis County Animal District, Missouri Coalition of Animal Care Organization, University of Missouri Shelter Medicine Program, Missouri Humane Society and various animals shelters from around the region that took weeks to coordinate.

“It was unbelievable the amount of teamwork that happened that day … I have never experienced a situation that happened yesterday, and I would be OK if I never saw that happen again,” Battson said. “But it was unbelievable the amount of teamwork that happened that day.”

Neighbors said they’re shocked about the discovery and had no idea what was going on inside the home.

“You see a lot of cats in the neighborhood, but didn’t know there was that many cats in one house,” said Kerry Turpin, who lives nearby. “I feel almost guilty not knowing about it beforehand.”

The cats have been dispersed to shelters all across the region including St. Louis, Branson, and even Illinois.

Six cats are currently being nurtured back to health at the Sedalia Animal Shelter.

“It was truly a liberation day for those cats,” Battson said. “Yesterday was the beginning of a real life for them.”

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