Dozens of caged cats stuffed inside a Moreno Valley house, where a number of felines were found dead, were rescued Monday, and their owner was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.
The cats -- and three dogs -- were discovered when Riverside County Sheriff's deputies conducted a welfare check on the suspect, whose name was not immediately released, at a property in the 22000 block of La Jolla Circle, near TownGate Memorial Park, according to the Moreno Valley Department of Animal Services.
"Our first priority is to see that these animals get the proper medical care they deserve," agency Director Steve Fries said. "Ultimately, we want to see that each of these cats and dogs ends up adopted into loving homes."
The exact number of cats seized from the property could not be confirmed. However, officials said 18 felines were found dead.
Most of the pets were confined to cages, officials said, adding that due to the number of cats in need of medical attention, veterinary technicians at the city shelter were overwhelmed, and some of the felines were transferred to a standby treatment facility.
Some of the cats may be eligible for adoption in two weeks, according to animal services.
Deputies took the property owner into custody, but it was unclear whether the individual was cited and released, or booked into jail.