A retired Philadelphia schoolteacher was arrested Sunday on animal cruelty charges after authorities found more than two dozen cats - alive and dead - in filthy conditions in her South Philadelphia home.
The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived at the home of 59-year-old Stephanie Sinkin on the 2100 block of South Chadwick Street shortly after 5:30 p.m. Workers say the home was completely full of trash, feces and urine. Six cats were found dead, 18 living cats were malnourished, authorities said.
Officers responded to Sinkin’s home after she walked into the PSPCA headquarters with three sick cats. They suspected this was a case of hoarding. Neighbors say the home smelled like death.
“This is a nightmare literally, it’s sickening,” George Bengal said.
Sinkin was arrested and placed in protective custody. She was also sprayed with flea killing antiseptic.
“When the officer came here to execute the warrant fleas were covering her face and lice,” Matt Seidermann said.
In addition to the horrible living conditions, investigators say Sinkin had no utilities – no gas, electric or running water.
“As they start cleaning out the trash there are nests of cats all in the trash and it’s ceiling to the floor in every room in the house,” Bengal said.
As of Sunday night SPCA workers say 50 cats may still be inside the home.
On Monday, Sinkin's home was declared unfit for habitation by Philadelphia's Licenses & Inspections. She has 30 days to reconnect her water service and clean out her home so that the SPCA can continue the search for any remaining animals.
All the cats that were rescued are currently being cared for at the Pennsylvania SPCA Veterinary Hospital.
Authorities believe that there are more live cats inside the home, though rescuing them depends on how quickly Sinkin cleans up.
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