Houston & Peach

86-year-old Warner Robins woman ordered to remove 34 cats from her home. She’s moving

A mattress and cat beds are discarded among the trash of a Charles Circle home where 86-year-old Martha Fowler has been living with 34 cats and one dog.  The city limits the number of cats and dogs per household.
A mattress and cat beds are discarded among the trash of a Charles Circle home where 86-year-old Martha Fowler has been living with 34 cats and one dog. The city limits the number of cats and dogs per household. bpurser@macon.com

An 86-year-old woman with 34 cats and one dog has been ordered by Warner Robins authorities to remove the cats from her Charles Circle home.

Martha Fowler said she had until noon Friday to comply.

“I had more than the law allowed. I knew it, and I have to pay the consequences,” Fowler said as people helped her load up a U-Haul truck Thursday.

Fowler said she didn’t know where she was going, but she was taking her 34 cats and a dog with her.

She declined additional comment.

A city ordinance generally allows a maximum of three dogs and three cats per residential lot under five acres.

Warner Robins Animal Control received three anonymous calls in late July and late August about the multiple cats, including from two callers who expressed concern about the welfare of both Fowler and the animals, according to a Warner Robins police incident report.

Twice, Fowler did not allow animal control officers access to her home. But on Monday — noting that she hadn’t mopped yet — she did, the report said.

Officers smelled a strong odor of cat urine and saw multiple cats throughout the residence, dog kennels set up with some cats inside, and litter boxes and food plates on the floor of every room in the home, the report said.

“There were what appeared to be German cockroaches crawling on all of the surfaces of the house,” the report said.

The officers observed that some of the cats appeared to be in poor health. But Fowler showed the officers a 3-inch binder full of each cat’s paperwork, shot records and rabies tags, the report said.

Fowler told the officers she knew she was in violation of the ordinance, but she didn’t used to be. At one time, the city did not limit the number of pets.

“She advised that she would take her cats and move elsewhere where there was not (a) restriction on animals,” the report said.

A city code enforcement officer and two police detectives also came out to Fowler’s home and were given permission to walk through the residence. There were concerns about the living conditions, the report said.

What appeared to be a public notice was attached to the front door of Fowler’s home but could not be read from a distance.

“Ms. Fowler was given until 8/31 to have the cats removed from the property,” the report said. “Code enforcement was checking into whether they were going to condemn the house and have her vacate today or give her a few days.”

No cats could be seen from the outside of the home or in any of the vehicles Thursday. A mattress and some cat beds were discarded with trash in front of the residence.

Fowler left the home in a vehicle with a “Life’s Better with a Cat” sticker.

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