The Zoo Next Door

Horror stories of what happens when neighbors start hoarding cats or breeding tigers.
7:03 | 07/11/14

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Transcript for The Zoo Next Door
You've the expression, this neighborhood is going to the dogs. But what about cats? 60, 70 cats, and what happens when the house next to yours turns into the wild kingdom? Rebecca Jarvis has the story. Reporter: High above malibu California, amidst the cliffs and views, is a rustic neighborhood called deer park. Nanette and Dan bercu thought their home here was their castle. The perfect spot to raise a family and the perfect real estate nest egg. Until one day they say something reared its ugly head, something that would ruin everything. Their safety and their property value. What are you absolutely nuts? We are never going to go for something like that! You'd be crazy. Reporter: The threat is something they never anticipated. This. Good girl! Reporter: A white siberian tiger. Trainers Irena Hauser and Sophia krysek want to move their tigers to their home here. They brought one in a temporary cage to show us. Around this entire area would be a perimeter fence with barbed wire on top. Reporter: The sisters thought it would be a formality to get a permit to permanently have tigers on their property. They thought wrong. They are our closest neighbors. And a tiger could get here in 30 seconds. Reporter: The bercu family lives a few hundred yards away. We are a young family. The last thing we want to worry about is tigers getting loose and eating our children. Reporter: They weren't the only ones upset. Signs went up all along the roadside. Deer creek, not tiger creek! Reporter: And protesters went down to the Ventura county planning commission. Among them the bercus and their two oldest boys. They're going to kill us if they get out. And they shouldn't be here. As mothers ourselves, we empathize. We say it's safe because it is safe. No tiger has ever escaped a property and gone to a neighboring property and killed anybody. Reporter: But Dan bercu isn't just a concerned father. He's in the real estate business. A property adjacent to a wild animal preserve is basically worthless. No one would buy that. You'd have to disclose to the buyers that there's a wild animal preserve next door. Reporter: It's a real estate issue that has come up before. Believe it or not, it is legal to own exotic animals of some sort in 29 states. And so homeowners in a Cincinnati neighborhood had to worry about this 16-foot python. At this South Carolina apartment, the skin from an african viper. A crazy thing to have gone through all we have in life and maybe die by some rare african viper. Reporter: And how do you think the folks in Dayton felt about a girl parading her pet bear cub on the front lawn? Well you know what they say about real estate. Location, location, location. That's correct. Reporter: Long Island realtor maria palmer says if the location has the wrong animals, prices absolutely take a hit. It will drive the property values way down. And nobody wants that in their neighborhood. Reporter: But in her neck of the woods, the problem with cats isn't their size. It's the size of the population. Houses overrun with cats is something Robert misseri sees on an almost daily basis. Hi, guys. I'm dealing with hoarders I'm dealing with good-doers. I'm dealing with people who are just overwhelmed. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it's a problem. It's a big problem. Reporter: Are you scared about what you will see? It's always frightening. Reporter: Robert runs the guardians of rescue volunteer group. He drives all over responding to calls from people concerned about cats on their block. Sometimes it's realtors. Sometimes it's neighbors like these. You get angry and you get frustrated, but it comes down to the point where this is the way we have to live. Reporter: These people say they complained for years to official agencies about a cat hoarder. Reporter: What happens? Nothing. Nothing. Reporter: It sounds like if you have a problem and you call, nothings going to happen. Nobody's coming. Nobody's coming. Nobody's coming to help. Reporter: So Robert does. I've dedicated my life to these cats. Reporter: At this house he meets a woman with an eccentric front yard full of cat decorations. There is a home for sale directly next door. How do we resolve the issue with the neighbors. What's their problem? Well, they're calling. They're complaining. Reporter: She has 60 live cats she says she is rescuing. Yes, it's a lot of cats. But I'm their last chance. It's either me or they go to the place and get killed. Go ahead and look, right here. All right. Reporter: She shows us a bunch of cats inside. Okay, you got to close the door. Okay. Reporter: And many more in her sanctuary out back. What do we have to do to resolve the constant calls and complaints. What is their problem? Something is bothering that person. I don't see what it could be. Reporter: Robert knows what it could be. Sometimes neighbors complain about smells. Let's get this under control. Reporter: Sometimes it's a concern over property value. This woman tells Robert she has 75 cats. They're scared, people throw rocks at them and stuff. And like I said, people have complained. But the complaint is, I don't want the cats on my property. Reporter: Many are sick. They fill the tiny interior. The smell is powerful. I mind the smell, sure, but I'm used to it. Reporter: Have you ever been bringing in a potential buyer to one of these blocks and just seen a look of complete disgust on their face? Completely. They've turned around and walked away. They won't even go into the home. Reporter: That's why Robert's work is so important. When successful, he's able relocate these cats to other homes. And bring much-needed relief to the neighborhood. We need to solve the problem. And make sure the block goes back to what it was five years ago. Reporter: Now, back to the big cat crisis in malibu. Voted here just a couple of hours ago. Reporter: For now the block is staying as it is. The sisters' request for a permit for their tigers was defeated 3-2. We still do not know what facts allowed them to come to that decision. Reporter: But it isn't over. The sisters say take away the emotion and the zoning law is on their side. Now they are headed to court. They're suing the county, hoping a judge will see it differently. So for the bercus, the cat fight goes on. No tigers! Animals and real eserte Nev mix, from a barking dog next door is going to diminish your real estate value, to the lion down the street. What you got to do is check out the neighborhood before you make the offer and most people don't.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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