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Animal services took 80 cats from the home of a Mira Mesa woman Wednesday morning.
The cats were found in extremely poor health when investigators served a search warrant at the house near Camino Ruiz and Flanders Drive, according to Lt. Dan DeSousa with the Department of Animal Services.
Upon entering the house, the animal service officers found most of the cats with upper respiratory infections – the human equivalent of a cold. Some of the cats’ infections had deteriorated into pneumonia and they were all exposed to feline leukemia, worms and ear mites. They were underfed and did not have access to enough litter boxes, DeSousa said.
Animal Services became aware of the woman in 2009 and confronted her multiple times, requesting that she comply with animal care laws.
Investigators recently learned that the conditions inside the house had worsened, and requested the search warrant.
San Diego County does not have a limit on the number of animals a person can keep in their house, but they do enforce “humane treatment,” defined on their website as “providing adequate shelter, food, water, and exercise, as well as any necessary veterinary care.”
“People like this do have compassion for the animals, and often they think they can provide better care than a shelter,” DeSousa said.
This woman, however, could not provide that care, he said.
He added that the cats are now receiving the best veterinarian care available, are eating as much as they want and have access to clean litter boxes.
A majority of the cats were taken to the Mission Valley Animal Shelter on Gaines St. The remaining 25 were taken to the Carlsbad Animal Shelter.
They are not available for adoption yet, as they are evidence in the ongoing investigation of the woman.
DeSousa said it often takes as long as a year before animals involved in a criminal case can be released by the courts for adoption.