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Deaths of cats prompt review in Mt. Lebanon

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon officials are wondering what they can change after police were unable to do anything about a resident who had amassed almost 80 cats in her Pennsylvania Boulevard rental home, most of which had to be euthanized when the resident was evicted earlier this month.

“Our involvement was limited because we technically don't have an ordinance limiting the number of cats allowed to be in a house or roaming,” said Mt. Lebanon police Deputy Chief Aaron Lauth.

The board of commissioners, which is considering legislation to regulate the keeping of bees, chickens and other livestock, likely will revisit whether it could either require licensing or restricting the number of cats and other pets someone can keep on a property, said Commission President Kristen Linfante.

“I suspect, in light of what happened, it's something we'll at least consider and look into,” she said. “I don't think the intention will be to be too restrictive, but it will be to address what happened, because we don't want it to happen again.”

Owner Sam Maccarone said he evicted the tenant from the duplex in the 200 block of Pennsylvania in early August after a neighbor complained of the smell, but couldn't get police or animal control to help him remove the animals because nothing in Mt. Lebanon's laws prohibited all the cats.

“The animal control people wouldn't help, couldn't help, because there's no law in place that says they had to,” Maccarone said.

He hired Bob McIntyre, owner of Big Daddy Wildlife Removal, to try to round up and remove the cats from the property. Now, Maccarone is working with exterminators and seeking contractors to rehabilitate the property.

McIntyre said when he arrived there was animal waste as much as a foot deep inside, with no food or litter boxes apparent for more than 70 cats he trapped. About 60 were too feral or too sick to be adoptable and had to be euthanized, McIntyre said.

A humane officer from Animal Friends in Ohio Township was called in to assist, spokeswoman Kathleen Beaver said, but the officer's role was limited because the landlord had already contracted McIntyre to do the actual removal.

The officer took seven cats, including several kittens in need of neonatal care, back to the shelter; McIntyre dropped off two more on Friday, Beaver said. Animal Friends is trying to locate the cats' owner, she said.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners previously debated cat leashing, licensing or restrictions in 2012 but never got a majority to pass any ordinances.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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