HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Fire investigators say they discovered more than 50 cats at a home on Fox Hill Road, where police say a 91-year-old woman was found dead Monday.
Sgt. Matt Bond, with the Hampton Police Division, says someone asked officers to check the welfare of the homeowner around 2:40 p.m. When officers got the home, they found the 91-year-old homeowner dead inside and dozens of cats nearby. No foul play is suspected, police say.
At least 16 cats have been taken from the home to Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, according to Craig Topping, a battalion chief with the Hampton Fire Department.
Topping says “several” cats were found dead on the property. An unknown number of cats were found in the ceiling, walls and floor of the home on the 400 block of Fox Hill Road. Topping says there is a hole in the first floor of the home, which allowed the cats to come and go from the residence.
As Hazmat crews decontaminated and ventilated the home Monday, the smell of cat urine and feces permeated through the street.
“I knew that she would feed the cats, and I also knew she would leave different stuff outside for the cats,” said Kenneth Hinton, who has lived next door to the woman for 27 years. “I didn’t have a clue she had the cats living in the residence with her.”
Police say they found a “large quantity of belongings owned and stored within the building” by the homeowner.
“Deplorable living conditions. There’s mold in the home,” said Topping. “Cat litter on the floor and what appeared to be cat feces on that cat litter.”
Animal control has put food in the home and set up traps in an attempt to catch as many cats as possible, according to Topping. He says crews will check back in the morning to see if any cats remain on the property.
The fire department condemned the home.