Authorities in Pennsylvania have rescued 19 cats from a New Kensington home where an elderly woman's body was found last week.
Officials said the body, discovered last Thursday, had been there for months.
When animal rescuers went back to the home Wednesday, they saved the 19 cats, along with a cat and dog that did not survive, authorities said.
19 cats rescued from a Westmoreland County home. Last week an elderly woman’s body was found after being inside for months. The door and vents in her bedroom were duct taped shut. The story only on 11 at 11 @WPXI pic.twitter.com/xUWOQD7r7W— Amy Hudak (@amy_hudak) August 22, 2019
"It's just heartbreaking anybody could put a living creature into these conditions," said Dr. Becky Morrow, the medical director at Frankie's Friends Cat Rescue.
Someone had duct-taped the door and all of the vents shut in the room where the woman's body was found, authorities said. Eventually, the pets also were left behind.
The woman's body was taken to the coroner's office for an autopsy.
A necropsy will be performed on the cat and dog that did not survive to determine when they died.
The cats that survived, mangy and malnourished, will be nursed back to health and be placed in new, loving, forever homes, rescuers said.
"It never ceases to amaze me the resilience of these animals and the forgiveness that they have," Morrow said.
WPXI reported that criminal charges likely will be filed for animal cruelty, at a minimum.
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