All 31 cats that were caught at an east Mesa home where the body of the homeowner was found dead on Sunday, have been euthanized.
Bretta Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society, told the Tribune on Wednesday that all of the cats were either too sick or too wild to rescue. Many of them also were malnourished and underweight and had to be euthanized on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nelson said.
On Sunday, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a home in the 9300 block of East Dallas Street near Ellsworth and Adobe roads in an unincorporated area of Mesa for a welfare check on the homeowner. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the cats and the body of Maria Elena Cimino. The home reeked of ammonia and had to be deemed hazardous because of air quality.
One of the cats also bit a sheriff’s deputy, and he is being checked for rabies, Nelson said.
It was not known how long Cimino, who is believed to have been in her early 60s, had been dead in her home. The cause of Cimino’s death was listed as accidental, stemming from complications of probable hyperthermia due to increased environmental temperatures, according to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Some of the cats were believed to have escaped in what Nelson described as one of the worst hoarding situations they had dealt with.
“It was one of the worst situations in the way disease among the cats was being spread, and these situations are the hardest because in these hoarding situations, more cats are attracted to the house because of other cats already being there,” Nelson said. “It’s a very, very sad outcome.”
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