A suspected hoarder was arrested after 18 cats died and other animals were found neglected in Moreno Valley, officials said Tuesday.
Deputies were performing a welfare check at a home in the 22000 block of La Jolla Drive on Monday when they came across “dozens of cats and three dogs in various stages of neglect,” according to a post on the city’s Facebook page.
The odor coming within the home smelled so foul, deputies believed there might be a dead body inside, according to a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Eighteen of the cats were either dead — apparently due to neglect — or had to be euthanized, their deaths apparently due to neglect, authorities said. Most of the felines were confined to cages.
An estimated 100 cats were located in the residence, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The surviving cats and dogs were rescued and taken to the city’s animal shelter for a medical evaluation and treatment, city officials said.
“Our first priority is to see that these animals get the proper medical care they deserve,” Steve Fries, the city’s director of animal services, stated in the post.
Authorities arrested 44-year-old Kristen Gotangco in connection with the case, sheriff’s officials said.
Gotangco was booked on suspicion of felony cruelty to animals and is being held on $600,000 bail, jail records showed. She’s expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the city’s shelter is prepared to handle the influx of animals, according to Fries. A separate treatment area has been set up to care for them.
“Ultimately, we want to see that each of these cats and dogs ends up adopted into loving homes,” Fries said.
He did not provide a timeline on when the animals would be up for adoption.