Neighbors worry about cats abandoned by renters

Neighbors worry about cats abandoned by renters
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Neighbors say renters left at least seven cats abandoned when they moved out of a southwest Bakersfield house about two weeks ago.

Some kind-hearted people are feeding the kittens, but they say that's really not the best thing for the animals or the neighborhood.

"I got to thinking there was nobody to feed them," Brenda Brandon said Thursday. "I feel like it's an urgent situation on the cats' behalf that somebody should do something."

She’s been leaving out food, but she also called Eyewitness News for help.

Brandon said she counted the seven kittens Wednesday night, and she usually sees the animals in the morning or evening hours.

On Thursday, a peek behind the fence showed several tan cats in the side yard of the rental house in the 6100 block of Cartagena Avenue. One cat ran under the fence and around the garage of a house next door.

That's where Johnny Parks lives, and his family has seen a lot of cats in the neighborhood since the renters moved out. Like other neighbors, Parks said the animals do cause them problems, especially if they leave the garage door open.

"When we shut the door, and they're sneaking in, and they have to use the bathroom, and then it's just horrible," Parks said. "Right now, the garage smells horrible."

Brandon also smells cat urine near her garage and front door. And she's heard from other neighbors who say their dogs bark at the roaming cats, and the kittens eat the dogs' food.

The area's in the city of Bakersfield, and at the city's Animal Care Center, director Julie Johnson said the neighbors' first move should be calling the landlord.

"Really, that's the person that we'd need to work with, ultimately," Johnson told Eyewitness News.

Brandon said she called the landlord Wednesday night, and was referred to a spokeswoman. That call didn't get very far.

"Her response was, 'I will go online and see if I can contact Animal Control,'" Brandon said the woman told her.

At Animal Care, Johnson said they have cats ready for adoption, but somebody has to trap them, and officers don't do that.

"Animal Control doesn't pick up stray cats," Johnson said. "As you can imagine, they would be inundated because cats roam." She also said Animal Control doesn't provide traps, people have to rent them.

"I'd rather do that, than see them die," Brandon said.

And, neighbor Parks said other neighbors might pitch in and try trapping the abandoned cats when they're out roaming. Obviously, the neighbors can't trap the animals when they're on the rental property.

Eyewitness News also called the landlord's number listed on the rental sign posted in the front yard. The man who answered said his brother is the property owner, and he would have his brother call us.

Brandon still hopes the landlord will take care of the situation, especially since it was apparently the tenants he rented to who left the animals behind. And, Animal Service's Julie Johnson notes that's illegal.

"What people don't realize, it's actually against the law to abandon any animal," Johnson said.

She said Animal Services can help renters with their pets, by giving advice on pet-friendly housing if they have to move, or things like food if they're having trouble providing for animals.

The number at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center is (661) 832-7387.

Brandon said she worries about the kittens, and what can happen next.

"I think the saddest part to me is that they're just sweet, little animals and they've just been thrown away or abandoned," Brandon said. "My concern is that the cats don't starve and get killed, and wreak havoc on the neighborhood."