Authorities on Wednesday were considering whether to condemn a Cathedral City home where the owner was found dead, leaving 78 cats and several other animals to fend for themselves for days in squalor.
Employees from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services went to the home and found the cats, a dog, duck and hen, said Kimberly McWhorter, program chief for the animal services department.
The owner died sometime over the weekend, she said.
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"The animals were found living in deplorable conditions and the house may have to be condemned," McWhorter said.
The animals were rescued but were too numerous to house at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
They're instead being housed at the Western Riverside County-City Animal Shelter in Riverside, where they are immediately being made available for adoption and to rescue groups.
Most of the cats are adults and animal services officials cautioned that some may require some nursing care to treat upper-respiratory problems.