Fourteen cats and a number of other small animals were removed from a Millcreek home Thursday after it was determined their owner was not sufficiently caring for them.
The owner of the animals had contacted the Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah for help a couple of weeks ago after Salt Lake County Animal Services cited him for neglecting the animals.
But when authorities arrived Wednesday, they got more than they bargained for, said Anne Davis, executive director of Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah.
They removed the cats, four rabbits, three finches, three guinea pigs and two hamsters from a home near 3400 South and 2300 East.
The animals had fresh food, "but that is where the care ended," Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Smith said.
Areas of the home where the 69-year-old owner lived were littered with old newspapers, receipts and phone books. Piles of animal feces and urine sat under cages and other parts of the home. They produced a pungent, overwhelming odor, authorities said.
Pam Davenport of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department said the house was filthy but it did not warrant the owner moving out.
"While [the home] does need to be cleaned, it wasn't to the level it was going to cause an immediate health risk," she said.
The homeowner was not transported to the hospital and seemed to be in good health, Smith said.
The animals were taken to the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter to be checked.