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Filthy conditions lead Animal Control to take custody of animals


December 31, 2010 (Santee) – Firefighters responded to a house fire this morning in the 9600 block of Halberns Blvd., where they discovered at least a dozen cats living in filthy conditions inside. According to ECM news partner 10 News, Animal Control officers took the cats for veterinary evaluation, include two which were ill from the smoke.


"The house is pretty much unkempt. That's the best I can say; it's pretty much uninhabitable," said Santee Fire Department Deputy Chief Richard Matlick, adding that the interior was filled with animal waste and food.


The owner was not home when the fire started and firefighters have not yet been able to reach him. A neighbor told 10 News that the owner, a Vietnam veteran, had been caring for his ailing girlfriend and that his mother recently died. She added that the health department had recently warned the owner to clean up the residence or it would be condemned.


Cats apparently weren’t the only creatures frequenting the home.


"He has a cat door in the back, and a lot of times there'd be skunks that would come in or possums and he would just let them roam free," said Littleton.


There is no word yet on whether the homeowner may face animal cruelty charges.

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