Animal control officers in Sioux City, Iowa, had to don hazmat suits this week to enter a home that apparently had been abandoned along with about 50 cats inside it, some of them dead.
"The conditions were unbelievable, that's all I can tell you, that they were absolutely unbearable," Cindy Rarrat, head of the Sioux City Animal Adoption & Rescue Center, told local TV station KCAU-TV. "It was unfit for humans or animals, which is why housing authorities were here and red-tagged the premises."
Rarrat confirmed to AOL Real Estate that authorities are looking for a person named Mark J. Lanning to question him about conditions at the home. According to public records, the 56-year-old is listed as the home's most recent owner.
Rarrat told the Sioux City Journal that the cats found at the home on Monday apparently had been living by themselves since March and were occasionally fed by someone who visited the house. Neighbors told another local TV station, KMEG, that they haven't seen the residents of the house for more than two months.
Neighbor Dianne Beldin said that she hopes this story can have a relatively happy ending.
"I'd like to see the cats -- each one of them if they're healthy enough -- at the vet's office, to have a home where somebody would love and care for them," Beldin told KMEG.