Child Found in Deplorable Conditions; Building Condemned

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A child found living in deplorable conditions prompts an entire apartment to be condemned.

It happened in a house being rented as multiple apartment units on Charleston's west side.

Police were responding to a welfare check when they found the child living in a home with more than 20 cats and no litter boxes.

Lt. Shawn Williams says, "It was probably the worst I've seen. In that particular apartment where the child was found, there were 27 cats and we're talking about a three room apartment. There were no litter boxes, so you can imagine the smell."

Theresa Scott lives in the unit across the hall. She says, "The smell was awful. You can't hardly breathe. It's just awful."

Her grandchildren often came to visit. She made them play outside because the smell was too much for even them to handle. "I don't see how someone could let a child go in to a place that's just that bad, the smell, and all them cats, not clean. It's just awful."

The city building commission deemed the entire property inhabitable.

Scott says in addition to the cat hoarding, other maintenance issues were never fixed. Building commissioners say there were multiple electrical problems as well.

The property owner, John Fox, has been cited by the city in the past for not fixing apartment issues. He's been cited about 20 times in the past year. The city took him to court in the past as well for not fixing the problems after being issued multiple violations.

WSAZ.com called Fox for comment, but our calls were not returned.

Scott and at least five other people are now forced to find somewhere else to live within 30 days. She says, "I'm gonna have to do something real soon. I'm not going to wait 30 days. I gotta get out of here."

The 27 cats and kittens rescued were taken to the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association. According to the shelter's Facebook page, they are already full, so all cats and kittens are buy one get one 30 percent off. You can call the shelter for more information on adoption.


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