A home on Summerfield Drive in Herndon, Va., is uninhabitable after 20 to 30 cats were found in various stages of decomposition inside, police said.
The woman who owns that home has not been seen there since before Christmas according to her next door neighbor, who said that the woman had a job that required her to do a lot of traveling.
The cats were discovered after Animal Control followed two loose dogs into the woman’s yard. They said they saw one dead cat in a window and smelled an odor, so they got a warrant and entered to check on the homeowner's welfare, but she wasn’t there.
"Years ago there was a problem with the number of cats she had outside and there were complaints, neighbor Barbara Harral said. "She had set traps for the cats that she fed outside and so we thought the problem had gone away. Apparently she must have just taken the cats inside the house and they were never outside."
Animal Control Officers wore protective clothing and breathing masks when they entered the home Tuesday afternoon.
Police tracked down the 50-year-old homeowner Wednesday. The investigation continues and charges have yet to be filed, but she could possibly face animal cruelty charges, police said. There is no serious discussion of charging her until investigators figure out why she left the home and if she's OK.