Animal hoarding: Nearly 30 cats, kittens found in Phoenix apartment

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX – For the third time in just a few weeks, a disturbing case of animal hoarding has come to light.

The Arizona Humane Society was called in Saturday to rescue dozens of cats that were being kept in a one-bedroom unit of the Whispering Pines Apartments at 36th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.

Two dead kittens were removed from the apartment Friday. On Saturday, more than 20 others were rescued. Several of them, it’s not yet clear exactly how many, will have to be put to sleep.

AHS crews started their rescue operation early in the afternoon. It took hours.

While several of the cats and kittens are sick, AHS rescuers said there is hope for a few.

“There are a couple in here that look like they’re okay,” said one of the Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ on the scene.

“I'm hoping more than half will make it,” said Marisa McHugh, an animal-cruelty investigator. “We did see some healthy ones, but some of the kittens looked pretty bad. Some of them were wild, too.”

The woman who rents the apartment reportedly has not been seen for about a week.

Conditions inside the unit were deplorable. Not only was there no food or water, there were only two litter boxes for nearly 30 cats.

McHugh said it looks like the woman was hoarding more than animals. She said the one-bedroom apartment was packed full of stuff, with piles shoulder high.

“We were climbing on boxes, trying to move stuff around,” she said.

Rescuers were not able to get to all of the cats and kittens. They said there are still between eight and 10 cats still inside the apartment. They plan to set traps and return tomorrow to rescue those animals.

Once found, the woman could face charges of abandonment and animal cruelty, which is a felony.