MONROE — After serving a search warrant on a home in Monroe, police found 37 cats, including 13 dead kittens and a dead cat in a freezer.
Neighbors alerted authorities to the house in the 17300 block of 152nd Street SE, after noticing “a large amount of flying bugs” coming from the property, along with a pungent smell.
The owner, an 83-year-old woman, reportedly deflected several attempts to contact her, and ignored notices to clean her property, according to a statement from Monroe Police.
Officers served the search warrant around 10 a.m. Tuesday, and were joined by a veterinarian and animal rescue teams from Pasado’s Safe Haven and the Community Cat Coalition.
Several cats roamed the yard in the early afternoon. Inside, the crews found animal feces throughout the house, and had to wear protective clothing and masks to withstand the stench as they worked for hours to find and capture the pets.
“The living conditions were deplorable,” said a statement from Monroe Police.
The owner of the house was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett for an evaluation. Police are investigating her for keeping too many animals and permitting a nuisance.
The living cats were taken to the Everett Animal Shelter, where they will undergo health and welfare exams.
Their condition was not made public Tuesday. Wendy Ogunsemore, spokesperson for Pasado’s Safe Haven, said cats rescued from similar situations often suffer from “severe upper respiratory infections, painful eye infections and are often extremely dehydrated and malnourished.”
“Sadly, cat hoarding cases happen way more frequently in Washington state than people might be aware of,” she said.