Feral cat village in Sunnyside isn't going anywhere

A tip about cat hoarding in Sunnyside led to a twist.

One man's morning routine includes a rake and shovel - but he's not doing a normal kind of lawn work. Dillon Sardelli - for the last year - has had to head out each morning and clear his yard of cat feces.

"There's flies on it," he says, motioning to a small part of mulch covered with the insects. "So usually when there's flies on it, they went to the bathroom in there."

He brings his coffee out every morning and says six cats will instantly run away. He blames his next-door neighbor.

Dillon says he's counted about 20 different cats, mostly feral, who hang out there. It looks like the guy who owns the house set up shelters for them - and feeds them often, if not daily. 

And those cats? They love digging up Dillon's yard.

"We have no birds, we have no squirrels... we probably have no rats or mice - that's probably the benefit of having 20 cats," he says. "But I think I'll take a few rats instead of having 20 cats at this point."

The burning question: Why hasn't he called animal control?

He has.

And they talked to the homeowner. Animal Control tells Next that he trapped all the cats himself, brought them in himself, got them vaccinated and even got them spayed and neutered.

The city says there's nothing illegal about managing a feral cat habitat. In fact, it's almost encouraged.

Animal Control says these kinds of habitats are actually beneficial to the neighborhood; getting them vaccinated, spayed or neutered means the cats won't breed or catch rabies.

Granted, Dillon's not a fan.

"So, I own this two feet," he explains near the edge of his yard. "And as you can see, I had to put the wire because they were digging holes underneath [the fence]."

Dillon is doing his part trying to keep the cats out. 

"I don't have a dog yet," he says. "I'm working on that - I think if I had a dog that might solve some of the problem."

We reached out to the homeowner - he never called us back. Renters live in the home and they don't want to talk.

Certain counties have specific laws protecting people who feed feral cats. Denver's law is a little different - it just doesn't specify that it's illegal.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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