"Crazy Cat Lady" Surrenders to Police

By NBC10 Staff
|  Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Lanie Jacobson, a woman who allegedly hoarded hundreds of cats, turned herself in Tuesday evening and is now hospitalized.

NBC10.com

Lanie Jacobson, a woman who allegedly hoarded hundreds of cats, turned herself in Tuesday evening and is now hospitalized.

Photos and Videos

Hundreds of Cats Removed from Frankford House

The SPCA removed more than 260 cats from a house in Frankford Wednesday. Officials say the house belongs to a self-proclaimed "Crazy Cat Lady." Animal rescuers said the conditions inside the home were deplorable. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez talked to a former employee of the woman's animal rescue.

Cats Rescued From Home of "Crazy Cat Lady": Officials

Officials with the PSPCA say they seized hundreds of cats from a home in "deplorable condition" in the Frankford section of the city. NBC10's Deanna Durante has the details.
More Photos and Videos

The self-proclaimed "cat lady" turned herself in at police headquarters Tuesday night, according to investigators.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Lanie Jacobson last month after Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Officers removed hundreds of cats from her home in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

About 240 cats were discovered in two connected "unsanitary" row homes on the 1600 block of Filmore Street. This came after officers found dozens of other felines during an earlier visit to the homes.

A sign on the gate of the home reads "I'm the Crazy Cat Lady. And this is the crazy cat house."

According to records, Jacobson had been running a licensed animal shelter known as Animals in Crisis since 2002. SPCA officials say they began to investigate her earlier this year after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen. Officials say Jacobson initially cooperated with them and turned over as many as 30 cats during an earlier visit. However, they then asked her to surrender more cats after conditions worsened but she allegedly refused.

"She declined to continue cooperating with us," said Sara Eremus of the SPCA. "It was a situation where we needed to just go in there and take them."

SPCA officials arrived at the home around 10 a.m. on March 26. Investigators say conditions inside the home were so deplorable and unsanitary that the officers had to wear respirators while removing the animals.

Workers from the SPCA spent the day at the house removing the cats. The felines that were removed were transported to PSPCA headquarters on Erie Avenue for vet exams, treatment and shelter.

"PSPCA's ultimate goal here is to find the cats good homes once it obtains legal custody of them," officials stated in a press release.

In total, animal officers estimate Jacobson kept more than 300 cats in her home.

According to the SPCA, Jacobson was operating a cat rescue but became overwhelmed.

Alicia Manfredi told NBC10 she used to work at Jacobson's shelter and was not surprised by the discovery.

"I watched the cats being abused," Manfredi said.

Manfredi claims that she filed a complaint against the owner back in 2011 before quitting. She also sent NBC10 pictures of what it looked like inside.

"Everything was neglected," Manfredi said. "Feces, urine, everywhere. It was just really awful, even for us to be working in."

While the SPCA confirmed a complaint was filed back in 2011, they claim they searched the shelter at the time and did not find any signs of neglect.

On March 27, the PSPCA announced that Jacobson would face charges. On April 28, Jacobson surrendered to police and was charged with possession and conspiracy to possess a ketamine solution. She was released on her own recognizance according to investigators.

"We look forward to our day in court," said Andrew Levin, Jacobson's attorney.

Rescue officials say Jacobson's cats will be made available for adoption.

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