Police in a New York town made a disturbing discovery on Monday that led to what the SPCA of Westchester — one of the oldest humane societies in the U.S. — says is “the largest rescue” in its history.
Yorktown police were conducting a wellness check at a residence on Cordial Road when they discovered a man and woman, both in their 50s, dead in a bedroom, according to ABC affiliate WABC-TV.
Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble said officials do not believe foul play was involved in the deaths of the man and woman, according to WCBS-TV. An investigation into their deaths is ongoing.
The Yorktown Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The SPCA of Westchester said it received an “urgent call” from Yorktown police who also found 150 cats “living in filth and squalor” at the “dilapidated” home where the bodies were discovered.
Cats were living in every room, “including the walls and ceilings,” of the home, the animal rescue group said.
“The conditions were absolutely horrific,” the SPCA wrote on Facebook Thursday in a post that included images of the various cats rescued from the residence.
At least 70 cats have been transported to the SPCA of Westchester, according to WCBS.
The cats, which “appear to be Abyssinian mixes,” had likely been without food and water for several days, the animal welfare organization said.
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Many of the cats are suffering from various health conditions, including upper respiratory problems, eye and skin infections, malnutrition, dehydration and other “more severe injuries,” the SCPA added. Several cats are believed to be pregnant, as well.
Director of Development Lisa Bonnano said the cats are unusually “social and sweet” despite the conditions they were found in, according to WABC.
“Usually they are scared when they come from a situation like this because they haven’t had a lot of human interaction,” she explained.
“The people that lived there, I think their intentions were good, that they tried to care for the cats. But they had to have been overwhelmed,” Police Chief Noble said, per the WCBS report.
Neighbors were apparently unaware of the situation inside the home. “It’s a mystery, it’s puzzling,” neighbor Patti Pfeifer told WABC.
“I’m wondering how they got so many cats, where they got them from in the first place and if no one questioned them what they were doing with so many cats,” she added.
Some of the cats will be ready for adoption starting next week, according to WCBS.
In the meantime, the SCPA is seeking donations to help cover the cost of the cats’ veterinary care and rehabilitation, which they expect will be “well over $40,000.”
“Our newest rescues desperately need your support,” the SCPA said on Facebook. “Even after all that they’ve been through, the cats are incredibly sweet and just want to be loved.”
Anyone interested in donating to the SPCA can visit their website for more information.