Florida couple charged for ‘hoarding’ 700 cats

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

A Florida couple has been charged with 47 counts of animal cruelty after authorities seized nearly 700 cats from their Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in June.

The Humane Society called it "the biggest case of cat hoarding," the group had ever seen, according to News4Jax.

In June, authorities seized more than 700 cats from the "sanctuary," after the county had warned Pennie and Steven Lefkowitz that they were only allowed to care for 100 cats. A hundred of the cats had to be euthanized because their diseases were so severe, according to local TV station WCJB. University of Florida veterinary students are spaying and neutering the remaining cats and hope to hold an adoption drive at the end of the month.

"These people started out well intentioned, but they were in way, way, way over their head," State Attorney Bill Cervone told The Gainesville Sun. "I am optimistic we will be able to resolve something with them that will address the mental health issues that I believe they have and prevent a recurrence."

By the couple's own account, they started taking on cats en masse as a humanitarian cause. "I was just tired of seeing so much euthanasia and wanted to know what we could do personally," Pennie Lefkowitz said in June, according to News4Jax.