Hundreds of thousands of cats roaming beaches in Miami-Dade County, where one in 10 homes are in foreclosure, are living and often breeding in homes abandoned during South Florida’s housing bust.
Professional cat catcher Rob Hammer told justnews.com he estimates there are more than 300,000 feral cats roaming the beaches, and more than 100 cat colonies living in abandoned buildings.
Hammer — who normally takes the cats he captures to local shelters, where about 90 percent of them are put down because of disease — estimates populations are up 20 percent the last two years.
Area hotels and condo sellers are now waging a type of undercover cat cleanup, using Hammer as their main operative.
"Every day I have a different call. I mean, these hotels are now worried about their image. Their beaches are being turned into litter boxes," Hammer says.
At least cats don’t commit crimes.
In Chicago, officials say that abandoned houses have become home to squatters, places where gangs and criminals stash drugs, plot crimes and evade the police, The New York Times reports.
The garbage inside attracts rodents, and the boarded windows symbolize neglect, which has a devastating impact on nearby property values.
Overwhelmed city officials, trying to trace the parties responsible for the dwellings, are facing a challenge unique to this crisis: Complex financial schemes hatched by predatory lenders eager to make home loans have made it tough to trace ownership of abandoned buildings.
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