Animal Raid

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Winnebago County Animal Services confirmed neighbors’ suspicions. About 15 cats roamed an abandoned home on Rockford's eastside.

"When they open up the house you can smell it pretty bad. It's not something to live next to," said next door neighbor Anna Josephitis.

After receiving complaints from several neighbors, Animal Services investigated a home on Parkside Avenue.

"It's very, very bad. There's a very heavy odor. The officers had to put on suits and breathing apparatus in order to work inside. There's holes in the walls. It's very much destroyed inside," said Winnebago Animal Services Director Gary Longanecker.

The City Building Department condemned the property after discovering several violations including a floor covered in several inches of cat feces.

"It's very unsanitary. You can't live in there. Plus there's no water to the house. Apparently it was shut off in the basement," said Rockford Building Inspector James Vronch.

It's believed that at least 15 cats are in the home, but Animal Services officers had a difficult time capturing them as they hid in holes in the basement walls.

"We've been able to capture four or five. We're going to have to set traps to try and get the rest of them," said Longanecker.

Neighbors says they couldn't be happier and were surprised to hear how bad the conditions are.

"I didn't know she had that many. I think it's good what Animal Services did," said Josephitis.

The home owner Carolyn Davis did not wish to want to comment on the situation. Neighbors says she recently moved out of the house with her children. It appears the cats had food and water, but charges could follow.

A county vet will evaluate the health of the cats and determine what will happen to them. The case is still under investigation and officials says Davis' house in foreclosure.