52 Living, 8 Deceased Cats Removed from Des Moines Home

posted on Friday, March 16, 2018 in News


LeLand Moffit, ARL Cat RescueUPDATE (4/3/18; 4:15 PM) Leland Moffitt of Des Moines has been charged with 5 counts of Animal Neglect Causing Death (a serious misdemeanor) and 10 counts of Animal Neglect (a simple misdemeanor). In total, 52 living cats were involved in this rescue. Moffitt surrendered all 52 cats to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) where following their spay/neuter surgeries and in some cases, behavioral rehabilitation, they will become available for adoption at the ARL.

UPDATE (3/30/18, 4:00 P.M.) Our rescue of cats from a feces-filled home in Des Moines is complete, and we now have 52 cats in our care from this property. Over several days our team humanely trapped the remaining cats that had been hiding, including a very scared mother and her litter of kittens.

Most of the cats have now been moved to our Clowder House, which was completed last year and is dedicated exclusively to caring for and rehabilitating cats in need – just like these. The rescued cats and kittens are now comfortable and receiving the behavioral rehabilitation needed to feel safe and prepare for their eventual adoption.

UPDATE (3/19/18; 4:00 P.M.) Today (Monday), ARL Animal Control Officers removed additional cats from the house. The total count of cats removed is now 32 living and 8 deceased. ARL officials are still attempting to capture 2 more living cats, who have been hiding in the ductwork, with humane “live traps”.

UPDATE (3/16/18; 5:45 P.M.) Today (Friday), ARL Animal Control Officers removed additional cats from the house. The house has been condemned and is now closed for the weekend, so enough food and water was left for the remaining cats until we are allowed to enter again on Monday. The total count of cats removed is now 27 living and 7 deceased.

Cat Rescue(03/16/18, 9:00 a.m.) On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) Animal Control Officers removed 24 living and 6 deceased cats and kittens from a home on the East side of Des Moines. The cats were living in approximately 6 inches of cat feces and garbage throughout the entire house. Humane “live traps” were set for approximately 10 cats that were hiding in the air ducts and the ARL Animal Control Officers are continuing to work to rescue these remaining cats. On Thursday, as officials began cleaning out the house, 2 more deceased kittens were found buried under the filth.

The investigation continues today as the number of cats rescued and recovered continues to climb.

“Animal hoarding is a serious animal welfare concern because the animals – and the people involved - often suffer greatly,” said Tom Colvin, Executive Director for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. “The ARL has been working with Iowa lawmakers to include mental health evaluations for animal offenders, including animal hoarders – legislation that is currently stalled in both the House and Senate. The recidivism rate for animal hoarders who do not receive treatment is almost 100%, so this legislation is desperately needed not only to protect animals, but also to get those who abuse them the help they need.”

The ARL is currently seeking monetary donations to help with the eventual spay/neuter surgeries and cost of care for the cats rescued in this case, as well as the hundreds of other cats currently at the ARL. Donations of dry cat and kitten food are also needed and can be delivered during business hours to any ARL location. Donations may be purchased from the ARL's Amazon Wishlist and can be shipped directly to us as well.