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The sentencing of a French couple who kept 160 cats



Close to 160 cats and seven dogs shared an apartment with a French couple, leading to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a lifetime ban on owning pets, as ruled by the Nice Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The court found the man and woman guilty of abandonment due to the animals’ severely poor health conditions and ordered them to pay over 150,000 euros in damages to animal welfare organizations.

Reports from AFP revealed that the couple cohabitated with 159 cats and seven dogs in a compact 80-square-metre apartment in Nice.

During a 2023 visit, police officers discovered dehydrated, malnourished animals infested with parasites and wounds throughout the residence, following a neighborhood conflict.

In one of the bathrooms, authorities uncovered the remains of at least two cats and two puppies.

At the completion of the trial, the owner of the animals, a 68-year-old woman, expressed her determination not to surrender.

She compared the situation to being told she couldn’t have more children and insisted that despite the current state, her love for the animals remained strong but misplaced.

Citing temporary issues like the deteriorated apartment and health problems caused by an infection in the cats and a heatwave, she felt helpless but affirmed her search for resolutions.

An evaluation presented a diagnosis of the “Noah syndrome,” or animal hoarding, explaining the urge to collect a large number of animals without providing suitable care.

Facing eviction and an 8,000-euro ($8,665) rent debt, the woman and her 52-year-old partner encountered legal challenges.

Past investigations in 2014 involved the couple residing with 13 cats and a dog within an 18-square-metre studio, while later adopting approximately 30 cats from an abandoned site due to alleged poisoning threats, leading to the animals’ reproduction.