MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A horrific case of animal cruelty and neglect in Mesa has landed a female suspect behind bars.
Theresa Deanne Finneren, 62, faces 27 charges, which include animal cruelty, neglect and intentional cruel mistreatment.
When police were called out on a search warrant to Finneren's home Monday, they first found that the conditions were "extremely unsanitary." In fact, according to the police report, conditions were "so egregious" the city officials had to condemn the building.
The floors of the home was "covered in dog feces" to the point that officers couldn't walk anywhere inside without stepping in it.
Also inside the home, investigators found 12 live dogs and five live cats, all in various health conditions and needing treatment.
Investigators also found two animal skulls in a bedroom and the skeletal remains of a dog on the living room couch. In addition, six dead dogs were found in a kitchen trash can.
No one was living at the residence.
Sadly, is not the first time this property has fallen under scrutiny.
Within the past year, both the Mesa Police Department and Mesa Animal Control received numerous complaints about "the stench emitting from the residence."
Finneren told police "she was sorry" and that "things just got out of control."
When police asked Finneren how the dogs died, she replied that they "died from different causes" and that "a couple of them had died from fighting."
Finneren repeated that she was sorry and that "she knew she should have done something to take better care of animals." She also told police she was "depressed" and "overwhelmed" and stopped caring.
"I gave up," she told officers, according to the police report. "I hate myself."
Animal advocate Debbie Domenicucci said that what makes this story even more heartbreaking is the fact that Finneren was running an animal rescue called Tiggy Town Rescue, that claimed to take in unwanted pets, to be cared for and nursed back to health.
But it doesn't appear the animals were receiving any care at all.
Neighbors said they'd see Finneren stop by the home every now and then, but no one had been living there for a year and a half.
"She was especially taking in senior and medical dogs, small ones, and little chihuahuas," said Domenicucci. "But apparently, she hasn't really been living here for quite some time and just left them, just abandoned them, left them to fend for themselves, and that's why there are bodies all over."