SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. - Dozens of cats and kittens were seized from a Snohomish County home on Friday when they were found living in filthy conditions.
The stench from the house is so strong you can smell it from the driveway.
Neighbors said they were surprised to see deputies removing the cats from the duplex.
They said the woman living there seemed normal.
"Occasionally comes out, waters the lawn or something, does the normal, typical stuff," said Shawn Woodbury.
It all started with an undisclosed medical call to the woman's home on Friday.
From there authorities were overcome by the stench of decomposing cats, feces and garbage. Nine dead cats were found inside. Six of those were kittens found wrapped in paper towels and placed inside the oven.
Seven more cats were in such bad shape they had to be euthanized by veterinarians at the Everett Animal Shelter, where the remaining cats are being treated.
"We saw a lot of fleas. A lot of the cats are underweight. Several of them have what we believe is the herpes virus and have conditions with their eyes," said Hilary Anne Hager of the Everett Animal Shelter.
Outside the home was a sign offering "free kittens." Neighbors say the woman had been trying to find homes for some of the cats.
"She's been working on it, making an effort with neighbors to get rid of the cats going door to door asking 'Hey are you interested?'" said Woodbury.
"It's disappointing. People make different decisions and these cats deserve better. We're just happy they're here and we're taking good care of them," said Hager.
The case is being sent to the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office for possible charges of animal cruelty. The woman was taken to the hospital. Her condition is not known.
The cats will not be available for adoption for several weeks, if not longer, but workers encourage people to help make room for them by adopting healthy cats -- or donating food or money to the shelter.
Donations for the care of the cats may be sent by mail directly to the Everett shelter's nonprofit agency "ARF" (Animal Rescue Foundation) at PO Box 12817, Everett, WA 98206.