LIVONIA (WWJ) – A Livonia man could face charges after his cat hoarding got out of control.

Livonia Animal Control and volunteers from the Michigan Humane Society were called in to a house near 5 Mile and Middlebelt to remove 49 cats that were living in their own waste.

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Animal control was tipped off due to complaints from neighbors about the smell.

Brian Wilson, Superintendent of Public Services in Livonia, said, despite the deplorable conditions, many of the cats did not go quietly.

“Some of them, you know, were docile — but there were quite a few that were likely feral cats, basically wild cats,” Wilson said. “And there were more than a few that loudly protested this move.”

He said the rescue crew got the lion’s share of the cats, but a few still in hiding.

“There still are some additional cats in the house, inside the duct work, in the walls of the house, that we’ve set traps out — to catch the remaining cats,” Wilson said.

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This was not the first time animal control has had to remove cats from the home, but Wilson said the situation was far worse this time.

Wilson said they try to work with people when they hoard pets. Often, he said, hoarders agree to take care of the situation — but it’s not long before they start collecting again.

The homeowner is currently hospitalized. He signed paperwork on Wednesday allowing the city and MHS volunteers to enter the home and remove the cats.

Neighbors talking to the Livonia Observer called him a “nice guy with a big heart.”

“I hope he gets the help he needs,” one man said.

Officials are still deciding whether or not to file charges.

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Wilson said it’s likely at least some of these cats will be deemed adoptable.