Police and fire officials found knee-deep trash, 31 dead cats and two live but flea-infested Labrador retrievers inside a Wichita home Saturday morning after responding to a call from a neighbor saying she hadn’t seen the female occupant for more than a month.
Police arrived at the house in the 200 block of North Green, near Grove, to check on the woman’s welfare and smelled decay.
They thought that maybe the woman had died inside the home, said Sgt. Bruce Watts. They called fire officials, who arrived with respirators.
When firefighters entered the home, the 69-year-old woman, who lives alone in the house, was not inside. But they found dead animals, fleas and trash – and lots of it.
The two dogs, swarming with fleas, apparently had been feeding on the cats, Watts said. They were taken by animal control.
Officers were able to contact the woman, who said she had been in the hospital and was staying at a friend’s home, Watts said. When she arrived, she told officers that she had been coming by the house every day to feed the animals.
“That’s doubtful,” Watts said, given the condition of the animals.
Watts said he called the Wichita bomb squad to collect the cats and photograph the scene. “They have respirators and protective suits,” he said as he waited for the bomb squad to arrive. “We don’t know what we’re going to find there.”
Police said later that they eventually counted 31 dead cats.
Watts said police called the city’s Office of Central Inspection to come out and possibly condemn the home.
He said he told the woman to remain out of the house because of her medical condition, and the condition of the home, until Central Inspection can inspect it.