How many cats is too many? As one alleged cat hoarder learned in court Wednesday, the answer is 137.
Florida resident Diane Carle was charged with 103 counts of felony cruelty to animals, according to Palm Beach Court records. The 64-year-old woman allegedly kept dozens of cats, many of which were feral, in her Lake Worth home.
When animal control officers searched the property in December, they found 137 living cats, along with 6 dead felines, local outlet CBS 12 News reports. Though Carle was known for her feline infatuation, authorities reportedly did not expect to find as many as they did. A dog, a box turtle and a pigeon were also seized.
The felines were in such bad shape that all of them, save for one, had to be euthanized, The Palm Beach Post reports.
Carle, who works as a school bus driver, explained that she did not keep track of the number of cats under her roof.
"I had no idea I had so many cats," Carle told the New Times Broward Palm Beach newspaper in January. "I probably didn't want to have so many cats. But I was caught up with everyday life and it just happened."
Speaking to local station WPTV about animal hoarders, Misti Scaggs of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control said: "[T]hey start off with a small number and they feel that they are helping. Then those numbers start multiplying, they start breeding, they get out of hand. They don't like to ask for help and it just (spirals) out of control."
Carle will appear in court again later this month for her arraignment. She is currently being held on $309,000 bond.