Watch| 23 cats from an alleged hoarder in Eastern Washington have been rescued by the Snohomish County animal sanctuary, authorities said Tuesday.
"Animals are suffering and dying. We rescued 23 but unfortunately, 15 didn't make it because help didn't arrive soon enough."
—Laura Henderson, Pasado's Safe Haven
Laura Henderson, executive director of Pasado's Safe Haven, told affiliate KOMO that another 15 cats were found dead. The home in Monroe, Washington where they were living, had below-freezing temperatures and lacked basic food and water, leading to starvation and eventually cannibalism.
"Horrifically, the cats died from starvation or exposure we presume. The other cats had no other choice but to eat the bodies of the cats that had already died," Henderson added.
The elderly woman living in the home was taken to an assisted living facility and Representatives from the Grant County Sheriff's Office did not immediately return calls for comment on whether the woman might face charges.
'Cats are being nursed back to health'
The cats are now being nursed back to health, said Kendra Madison, clinical care manager at the sanctuary.
"It's awful. It's inappropriate for any living being and the cats have no other option," Madison said. "When it's that cold and they're that hungry, it's awful to see."
'Adopt a cat'
Once the cats are healthy, they will be up for adoption. For more information on adopting the cats, click here.
" A lot of them are really, really shy," Henderson added. "But thankfully they're safe with us now."