Authorities found 83 cats, three dogs and two iguanas inside a Ben Lomond home reeking with the stench of urine and feces. “Imagine 83 cats living in a house with no litter boxes for two years, and you get the general idea,” said Todd Stosuy, supervising field ranger for the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Authority. It was one of the county’s largest-ever animal hoarding cases, Animal Services spokeswoman Tricia Geisreiter said.
Many of the animals were taken to a shelter.
Sheriff’s deputies were tipped to the animals after someone called and asked that a deputy check on the welfare of the pets and their owner. Deputy Doug Smith found animals throughout the small three-bedroom home and feces piled up to 4-feet-high.
The homeowner, whose name wasn’t disclosed, is still living in the house and another 50 cats remain on the property. Animal Services officers have set traps to catch the animals and bring them to a shelter, Geisreiter said.
The animals already brought to the shelter were described as healthy and well-fed. The homeowner told authorities she obtained the cats through her work with local animal rescue groups and that all the felines were spayed or neutered.
“She was very well-intentioned. These cats are not in poor, poor condition,” Stosuy said.The woman could face misdemeanor animal neglect charges but had not been cited as of Wednesday afternoon, Stosuy said.