F160 cats in 80 square meters: A court in Nice, southern France, sentenced the couple to a suspended one-year prison sentence and permanently banned them from keeping pets. The court found the man and woman guilty of abandoning the animals, taking into account the animals' “seriously impaired health condition”. The two defendants must also pay more than 150,000 euros in damages to animal protection associations, including for the care of the animals they found.

The 68-year-old owner of the animals said after the conviction that he did not want to “give up”. “Who wouldn't complain about such injustice? It's like telling a woman she can't have any more children,” he said.

The couple lived in an 80 square meter apartment with a total of 159 cats and seven dogs. Police were called to a neighborhood dispute in 2023 and found dozens of malnourished animals covered in parasites and sores. Investigators also found the carcasses of at least two cats and two puppies in the bathroom.

“They were the loves of my life, but I slipped away”

“They were the loves of my life, but I slipped,” she told the court. The apartment and the animals were only temporarily in poor condition. The 68-year-old woman said she was looking for solutions but was helpless because the cats were suffering from the infection and the heat wave had made her sick.

A psychological report has identified 'Noah Syndrome' – an animal hoarding addiction where the desire to keep more animals than usual without being able to adequately care for them.

The woman and her 52-year-old partner were threatened with eviction proceedings because they had accumulated rent debts of 8,000 euros. The two were the focus of an investigation back in 2014 when they lived in an 18-square-meter apartment with 13 cats and a dog.

Several years later, a woman put down 30 cats she found in an abandoned building – believing the cats were at risk of poisoning. Then the animals multiplied.

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