Two dozen cats were removed from a Long Island home Wednesday after prosecutors, building investigators and animal rescue workers executed a search warrant in an alleged animal hoarding case.
The home at 54 Middlecamp Road in Westbury was then declared unfit for human occupancy.
Authorities went to the home to arrest the woman living inside, described as being in her late 50s, and rescue 24 cats that were living in filth, according to prosecutor Jed Painter.
The cats were "skittish and scared, some a little bit aggressive," according to Lindsey Calabrese, spokeswoman for North Shore Animal League America, which helped collect the cats as the warrant was executed.
The cats will be cared for by the organization until they're ready to be adopted, said Calabrese. They appeared to be well-fed, but veterinarians will have to examine them to see if they have any medical issues.
Prosecutors had been investigating the woman for months and tried to resolve the case without resorting to an arrest.
"When the line of communication broke down with this individual, we had no choice left but to try to obtain a search warrant from the judge," said Painter. "It's never a pleasant thing to bring charges in a hoarding case because sometimes there are other issues going on here."
The windows and doors of the house had been shut for a "very long time," and the inside of the home was not sanitary, according to Painter.
The woman was expected to be arraigned later Wednesday.