House full of cats makes for unhappy neighbors

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Tracy Lynn Poole recently moved into his own income rental property house in the 2300 block of Cora and now realizes why past tenants moved out because of the overwhelming smell of cat urine coming from the house immediately north of his.

‘They go over to her house to eat, and my house to poop. It’s frustrating.’
— Tracy Poore

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A landlord who moved into his own rental house in the 2300 block of Cora soon discovered just how bad the smell from the cats next door was. Tracy Lynn Poore recently moved into the former income property after a divorce. Since then, in addition to the strong urine smell from the house north of his, he has experienced burning and soreness in his throat, as have his occasionally visiting 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

Police say the resident of the cat house, a renter, feeds numerous stray and feral cats outdoors and may have at least three inside. Poore said many if not all of the cats may be using his yard as a litter box.

“They go over to her house to eat, and my house to poop,” he said. “It’s frustrating.”

Animal Control Officer Charles Gillenwater, who has said the cat odor could pose a health threat, has left citations on the woman’s door in recent weeks, most recently on May 1. But Poore says that to his knowledge, no officer has seen the inside of the house, where he believes at least three cats are living. While the outdoor cats his neighbor feeds may create a nuisance, the indoor cat smell problem is rapidly becoming a health issue and a concern for him, he said, adding that the smell is noticeable even with the house’s doors and windows shut.

Poore had trapped a stray cat May 1 to take to the city’s Animal Pound, but someone immediately released it while he wasn’t watching the cage. That prompted him to call police and animal control about 8:30 a.m.

“I’m trying to go about it the right way,” Poore said. “She’s not cooperating.”

He said he has spent $30 on a cage because he’s so fed up with the situation.

“I can’t leave the windows down on my vehicles, because I’m scared they’re going to jump in there and spray in there,” Poore said.

He said when Gillenwater opened up the woman’s screen door on his most recent visit to knock on the inside door, the smell just “hit him right in the face” — with the door closed. Poore said the smell likely is much worse inside.

The neighbor did not open the door, however, and it is unknown whether she was at home at the time. While Gillenwater was writing his report, Poore said, one of the outdoor cats urinated in another neighbor’s flowerbeds.

“It’s just disgusting,” Poore said. “We’re tired of it.”

While he’s not unsympathetic to the situation, he said his patience has limits.

“I’d hate to see her get evicted,” Poore said. “This is a rental. It’s not her home.

“But at the same time, you’ve got to respect your neighbors.”