1 of 79 cats dies in Gilbert hoarding case - Tucson News Now

UPDATE

1 of 79 cats dies in Gilbert hoarding case

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(Source: Gilbert Police Department) (Source: Gilbert Police Department)
Inside the home. (Source: Gilbert Police Department) Inside the home. (Source: Gilbert Police Department)
The cats have been taken to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter in Phoenix. (Source: Gilbert Police Department) The cats have been taken to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter in Phoenix. (Source: Gilbert Police Department)
The woman could be facing charges of animal cruelty. (Source: Gilbert Police Department) The woman could be facing charges of animal cruelty. (Source: Gilbert Police Department)
(Source: Gilbert Police Department) (Source: Gilbert Police Department)
GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

One of the 79 cats rescued from a Gilbert home Monday has died, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control officials said.

The cat had to be put down because it was in severe health, MCACC said.

Gilbert police have opened an animal cruelty investigation after the cats were recovered from a home in a neighborhood near Val Vista and Williamsfield Roads.

They said 34 of those cats were found in the garage and some of the animals were discovered inside of the walls of the home.

"Immediately when we moved in, was the overpowering odor of pet urine and feces," said Scott Carstens who lives next door to the home.

He moved to the neighborhood with his family about five months ago and they've been dealing with a powerful stench since then.

"At times when the doors were open you could kinda smell, for lack of a better word, carcass," Carstens said.

The rescue effort began late Monday afternoon as detectives and Arizona Humane Society workers, wearing masks and protective gear, entered the home on Milky Way to trap and remove the animals.

The cats were taken to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Shelter in Phoenix for evaluation and possible adoption.

Police said the 59-year-old woman accused of hoarding the cats was recently foreclosed on.

They'd cited her last week for "failure to maintain the premises."

Officers said the new owners called for help on Monday when they saw the deplorable condition of the home and many feral cats.  

Other neighbors said they're glad their ordeal is over.

"We knew something was going on in that house, cause we knew something was up," said Carlos Torres. "And, pulling up today and seeing those boxes (holding rescued cats) - it was like 'oh my God, finally something is happening."

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

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    SEARCH: Hoarding stories on cbs5az.com VISIT: Arizona Hoarding Task Force VISIT: Pinal County Animal Care & Control VISIT: Arizona Animal Welfare League VISIT: Arizona Humane Society
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