Suspected cat hoarder facing animal cruelty charges

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GILBERT, Ariz. -- An accused cat hoarder is facing multiple charges of animal cruelty after 79 cats were pulled from filthy conditions in her Gilbert home Monday.

The home had foreclosed and was sold at an auction. Police said they went to investigate after the new owners discovered dozens of cats inside.

A cleaning crew went by the home Tuesday to check out the mess.

The cats are at the Maricopa Animal Care and Control West Valley Animal Care Center.

A two-week-old kitten rescued from the home near Val Vista Drive and Williams Field Road is fighting for his life.

"The conditions were not good. The cats are not social at all. They are very scared," said Melissa Gable with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. "They've been through a lot so we are giving them some quiet time to let them relax and chill out."

Neighbors said Jean Whitaker thought she was taking good care of these cats.

"It was so bad. It was so bad,” said neighbor Wy Gillespie.

Maricopa Animal Care and Control said one cat was in such bad shape that he had to euthanized.

"I know you see this cat, and he looks awful; it makes me want to cry. My heart goes out to them. Some of them just aren't adoptable, and that's the sad part. That's the frustrating part. You want to help them and sometimes you can't," said Gable.

But the shelter is working to get some of the cats adopted by animal lovers who are prepared to work with them.

"For people who do see that and are a bleeding heart like I am and want to come help that's great, but just know that please, you need to take them to the vet right away because they may not be that healthy,” said Gable.

Maricopa Animal Care and Control plans to put some of these cats up for adoption Thursday at this location:

West Valley Animal Care Center
2500 S. 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(27th Ave/Lower Buckeye)