Wedding Woes

Start with social services

Dear Prudence,
I work with a volunteer group that helps fix up houses for low-income residents. For the past several weekends we have been building a wheelchair ramp for an older woman who lives alone and has no nearby relatives. She mentioned that she has “several cats,” but during our work we noticed an overwhelming smell. I knocked on her door one evening so we could unplug our extension cord, but she didn’t answer, so I let myself in and was overwhelmed. There were 15 cats in a small dining space (she lives in a nice mobile home park), and there was animal urine and feces everywhere. In some places I could not see the floor. I retrieved the cord and got out as quickly as I could. I’m concerned about her health and safety. I can’t imagine preparing meals in that kitchen? What do I do? I don’t want to call in authorities that may have no compassion for her. I don’t want her to be removed from her home, but at the same time, living as she is is not good. She seems like a kind, normal person. How can I help without also hurting her?

—Cat Lady

Re: Start with social services

  • Definitely social services.

    This sounds like an episode of Hoarders though

  • I need to throw one other kink out there in this situation.  Granted, I don't know what kind of agreement this volunteer organization has with the people they help, but I strongly suspect their volunteers are not allowed to just go wandering into people's houses.  I realize the LW had a legitimate, specific purpose for entering this woman's home.  But that still doesn't make it legal to do.

    The LW shouldn't call the police anyway, if that is what is meant by "authorities", but rather call some kind of social services agency (like the title!).  Perhaps for the elderly.  Those would (hopefully) be people who are compassionate.

    you make an excellent point.
  • LW needs to call both the Department of Senior and Adult Services (or the local equivalent) and the Humane Society.
  • the other thing that comes into play here is the home in question - does it belong to crazy cat lady, or is low income housing that she's getting some sort of subsidy/stipend to offset the cost. If she's the property owner, then to me it's just a question of health for her and the cats - and maybe the neighbors  -but if not, she's also destroying a resource (home) that could be helping other low-income people, and potentially violating the terms of living in that property. this organization is using time and resources to modify a property that may not be habitable in the long term if this keeps up. I would rather redeploy the resources to help people that are appreciative and making an effort to maintain/improve their homes. 
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards