Animal care workers removed three dogs and as many as 80 cats from a Mesa apartment in the 600 block of West 10th Avenue on Tuesday after neighbors complained about the odor coming from inside.
Dressed in hazmat suits, the workers required the assistance of the Mesa Fire Department to remove the cats because there was more ammonia than oxygen in the air from the large amounts of cat urine and feces inside the apartment.
Scott Powell, 26, of Mesa said he called Arizona Animal Welfare League for a welfare check on a female neighbor after spending days smelling, but not seeing, the cats. The three dogs were outdoors.
"I’ve never seen a cat, but enough is enough," he said about the smell permeating his apartment since he moved in about three months ago. The woman, whose identity was not released, faces misdemeanor charges of animal neglect.
Devorah Young with the league said cats were running everywhere inside the apartment, including inside the walls, as she described efforts to herd them.
The dogs and the healthier cats were transported to Arizona Animal Care and Control. They may become available for adoption, pending the woman’s surrender of custody, officials said.
A number of the cats were sick from their living conditions, said Miriam Carranza, director of cruelty investigations for the Animal Welfare League. Those cats will be cared for by the league and the survivors may also come up for adoption, she said.
Powell said they way the animals were treated "hurt" his heart, especially the dogs he described as "the best in the world."
"The brown and black one is named Harley and it’s breaking my heart because that dog is so sweet and good with kids," he said.
The apartment will need to be gutted, said Rocio Gonzalez, who manages the complex.