GILBERT, Ariz. – Dozens of cats were removed from a Gilbert townhouse after authorities found them living in deplorable conditions.
Neighbors near Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive reported a heavy ammonia smell to police.
Gilbert police and firefighters responded to the home Thursday. The 45-year-old woman who lives there wouldn't open the door so police obtained a search warrant.
Firefighters donned respirators and hazmat suits and removed the cats.
Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Sanger said they removed 40 live cats and approximately six dead ones.
Sanger said the animals were living in cruel conditions. Litter boxes were piled high and some of the cats were living in small cages on top of 3 to 4 inches of their own feces. Some didn't have water or food.
"I haven't seen anything this bad in Gilbert since I've been here," Sanger said.
The cats were taken to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
Sanger said the owner is a breeder and runs a website advertising cats for sale.
The owner could face charges related to the cruel conditions.