SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of cats, both alive and dead, were found in deplorable conditions inside a Sunrise apartment in a horrific case of animal hoarding, and some animal rescuers said they were shocked to find the felines had been left to starve and suffer.
Rescuers discovered the deplorable living conditions on Saturday after two groups became concerned with the behavior of a volunteer. Their concerns would lead them to her apartment at 3989 NW 94th Ave.
“You can open the door about this much, and all you saw were little paws just desperate,” Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation spokesperson Gina Vlasek said.
The cats were either found dead or struggling to survive after, officials said, they were abandoned for weeks and possibly months.
Sunrise Police responded to the apartment Saturday night. Soon after, officers labeled the apartment as abandoned and gave permission to Saving Sage Animal Rescue to rescue the felines.
“As we started to walk through the property, it was just the most horrific thing that you could ever imagine,” Vlasek said. “No food, there was urine in the water bowls and at least one of the cats died within the last 12 hours and was eaten halfway down. I still can’t process what I saw.”
An animal rescue group called Operation Paw stepped in on Tuesday to help transport the cats for treatment.
“It takes a group of people to step in and help,” Operation Paw spokesperson Tia Williams said. “I mean, this is– it’s an emergency situation.”
More cats were found on Tuesday hiding in the apartment’s walls and filth.
“We worked around the clock last night, still catching cats,” Vlasek said. “There’s still cats in the building. I’ve never done a hoarding case with somebody that I knew, and I’ve never seen animals in such desperation. What I saw, I will never recover from.”
As of Tuesday night, a total of 10 cats were found dead and 38 were rescued.
On Wednesday, three more felines were rescued from the apartment.
Police are investigating the case, and no arrests have been made so far.
7News reached out to the woman who owns the apartment for comment, but she has not responded to calls, emails or text messages.
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