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59 cats, 9 carcasses found in Queen Valley home

by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Bodinet

Posted on February 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM

Updated Saturday, Feb 4 at 2:05 AM

WARNING: Some viewers may find the photos and video included in this story disturbing.


QUEEN VALLEY, Ariz. -- More than 50 cats were found living in deplorable conditions in a Queen Valley home on Friday.

Animal Care and Control officers and Pinal County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant on the home and removed 59 cats and one dog.

Deputies arrested Gary Cyphert after he made threats to law enforcement and animal control officers, according to county spokeswoman Heather Murphy. He and his wife could face animal cruelty charges.

Authorities said the inside of the home was filled with feces and smelled strongly of cat urine. A trailer located on the property was also filled with fecal matter.

"What was very shocking is that we found nine carcasses of deceased cats inside the home," said Animal Care and Control Director Kaye Dickson. "We were not expecting to see that."

Sgt. Lonnie Buckels, a 20-year veteran of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, said it was one of the worst cases of animal hoarding he has seen in his career.

The animals will be examined by a veterinarian. Many of the cats are believed to be in poor physical condition. How many and whether the cats will be available for adoption will be determined in the next few weeks.

This was the second case of animal hoarding uncovered in Pinal County this week.

On Tuesday, 93 dogs and five exotic birds were removed from a double wide trailer in the Hidden Valley area, south of Maricopa. Animal Care and Control officials called it a case of "extreme animal hoarding."

Two people were living in that home, which had no electricity or running water. The floors were covered with garbage and several inches of fecal matter.

"The fact that our Animal Control operation had two cases in one week is not indicative that Pinal County has a problem that other places do not," Murphy said. "Hoarding of animals and belongings is happening in urban and rural settings, it is not unique to Pinal County."