Authorities said that more than a dozen cats had been enduring deplorable conditions inside a Hamden home, according to police.
On Wednesday, Hamden Animal Control Division responded about a report of animal cruelty at the residence on 13 Angur Street at around 10:30 a.m., police said.
“Just cat feces up to our ankles, bags of garbage waist high. It was just filthy," said Stephanie Maselli of Halfway Home Animal Rescue Shelter, who was among the rescuers.
Officials learned that Halfway Home Rescue removed 16 cats from the third floor of the residence on July 2 and transported the pets to Beacon Valley Animal Hospital for treatment. Police said the animals were left without food or water.
On Wednesday, another two dead cats were found inside the third-floor residence, according to Hamden Police.
Sixteen of the animals had been fed, vaccinated and spayed or neutered by the non-profit shelter. The cats will remain in special care at the shelter for thirty days before possibly being able to go up for adoption.
An investigation found that the tenants had moved out of the apartment several weeks ago, police said. However, a man who spoke to NBC Connecticut, claiming to own the cats and live in the residence, said that he had not moved out prior to Wednesday.
Conditions in the third floor apartment were so bad, the Quinnipiac Valley Health District condemned the entire property on Wednesday, forcing all tenants to move out of the home.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of flies on the first floor and second floor and that’s when we knew something is not right," the second floor tenant, who did not want to be named, told NBC Connecticut.
The man claiming to own the animals told NBC Connecticut said his animals were mating and multiplying quickly, while acknowledging that he was 'in over his head' and that he did not know what action to take.
Neighbors who had just been forced to move out because the home was no longer livable, said the person who allowed the situation to deteriorate so much should be facing charges.
“It’s very unfair that there are five human beings and two dogs that are clean and well taken care of and now we’re being put out on the street," said the second floor tenant.
NBC Connecticut reached out to the Hamden Animal Control Division and the Hamden Police Department for more information about the possibility of charges being filed, but neither agency had immediately responded to a request for comment. As of Wednesday evening, no charges had been filed.
Police said in a press release that an investigation is on-going.