MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A large number of cats and dogs in poor health have been removed from a northeast Minneapolis residence, according to police.

On Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis Police assisted in the execution of a search warrant issued for animals in distress at the residence, located on the 2400 block of Jefferson Street Northeast.

The animals, who police say were living in filthy conditions, were taken into custody by Minnesota Animal Care and Control.

Neighbors said they had no idea how many animals the woman had. Authorities serving a search warrant at the home found 20 dead cats, 34 live cats, four live dogs and several small animals.

A 56-year-old woman was living in the home, which has since been boarded up.

“It was just horrible. It was a horrible day,” neighbor Elizabeth Backdahl said. “We saw them emptying dead cats into barrels.”

She says her neighbor was a recluse who could often be seen bringing in huge bags of pet food.

“We knew she had one little dog. It seemed unusual she was hauling in that much stuff,” Backdahl said.

The surviving animals were brought to Minneapolis Animal Control, where they are being cared for by veterinarians.

WCCO learned late Wednesday afternoon that the woman surrendered them to animal control, which is now in the process of evaluating the animals to see whether or not they can be adopted into new homes.

Therapist Janet Yeats is a founder of the Minnesota Hoarding Project. She says animal hoarding is relatively rare, but 75 percent of animal hoarders are middle age women.

“Hoarding is not done by people who don’t care about animals,” she said. “They care very much. They think they are doing a service to these animals.”

The woman faces possible charges of animal neglect and cruelty.

Backdahl says she wishes she and other neighbors had realized how bad the situation was.

Esme Murphy

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