It is a case of animal hoarding that may turn your stomach. An Arizona woman is in trouble for keeping too many cats.
The case is playing out in the northwest valley, in the town of Wittmann. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says 64 cats were found at Lucienne Touboul's home on Wednesday. Most of them are alive.
Nine of them were kittens.
"It is just too many. Too many for an elderly person to care for, let alone care for themselves," said Humane Society veterinarian Nancy Bradley.
What makes this story so strange is what authorities say the woman may have been planning to do with these cats.
There was a previous time that they investigated the woman's house, and that time, they found 90 cats. They all had to be put down.
At that time, MCSO said the 82-year-old woman admitted to raising the cats, freezing them and eating them.
"With 9 frozen cats in the freezer [in 2010] we are pretty confident she meant those statements," said MCSO Sgt. Brandon Jones.
“I was briefed on this case this morning and found myself thinking that in 50 years of law enforcement, I’ve never heard of a case quite like this where an animal lover presumably turns her much loved pets into stew," Sheriff Joe Arpaio stated.
No cats were found in the freezer on Wednesday.
Many of the cats had severe infections, and the owner was trying to give them medical care on her own. Deputies found expired medicine in the fridge and old used syringes.
"This is just not the proper care for these animals," said Bradley. "The cats pay the price. I don't want this woman to go to jail but she needs to not be allowed to have animals and she needs to get help."
Deputies spoke to a taxi driver who picked her up to get cat food twice a week. Touboul apparently was feeding the cats with a spoon.
MCSO will take the cats to the Arizona Humane Society to be checked out.
In the last case, AHS found that many of the cats had leukemia and the cat version of HIV. If the cats seized today have the same issues, many of them will have to be put down.