TORONTO - When the day started, this Scarborough apartment housed 47 cats, one dog and two humans.
When it ended, the Morningside Ave. apartment was inhabited by 47 cats, one dog — and no humans.
Peter and Nancy Wilson were evicted Wednesday by court order. Two sheriffs arrived to exercise building management’s legal right to turf them.
“I think we are done,” said Peter, 70, a former military police officer.
“I plan to fight,” says Nancy, 69, a retired court reporter and animal technician. “I love my pets.”
It was not easy for them to drive off to a motel for the night, leaving behind their animals.
But, if we are honest, it might be the best answer.
As I said in my first column on this topic, there are no stereotypical “bad guys” here.
The property owner has 200 people living in their building — many who could no longer have friends over because of the smell. For four years, the landlord has been dealing with this problem.
The animal-loving couple believed they were doing the right thing by caring for the cats.
In the apartment, the air was filled with the smell of cat urine, feces and every breath dragged in cat hair. The furniture was scratched down to its core and covered in cats.
It’s surreal and untenable.
But the Wilsons are sweet people. Nancy sees herself as a Mother Teresa of cats and Peter served Canada in uniform.
Looking for a solution, I would have liked to see the frail couple given more time as many people responded with offers to take the animals.
But it could actually work out OK.
Toronto social services officials and Veterans Affairs have promised to help the Wilsons get proper shelter in a location where they can start over.
Toronto Animal Control took a look and at first blush reported the cats appeared reasonably healthy, meaning most can be adopted out instead of euthanized.
A dog in the apartment will need further assessment.
With Peter Wilson’s blessing, the Etobicoke Humane Society is going to start removing the cats Thursday, while looking for other shelters to share space.
It’s not over yet since the Wilson’s, by law, have 72 hours to gain a stay of the eviction court order.
My feeling originally was that after a cleanup — with the animals removed for their health and safety — perhaps the Wilsons could stay.
The problem for the landlord, though, is the Wilsons have been down this road before — in 2008, going before the courts for not properly providing for 70 cats in a previous abode.
And two years ago, building management says, they purged the apartment of a previous population of two dozen cats but it was built back up again in no time.
If all goes to plan, the cats should be in safe place soon. And with some medical and social help, hopefully, so will Nancy and Peter.
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