More cats were removed Tuesday from a house in Pittsburgh's Carrick neighborhood where a woman says she has been taking them off the streets for 30 years.
Pittsburgh police Officer Christine Luffey and Kathy Hecker, a humane agent from Animal Friends, carried three cats out of the home on Transverse Avenue in cages and loaded them into an SUV. Seventeen other cats were removed last week.
SLIDESHOW: Photos of the cat rescueWhen Channel 4 Action News first arrived at the house last week, one of the many cats that were living there scurried off. Neighbors said the animals often wander the street.
One cat "hangs out underneath the cars out here, and he just looks old," neighbor Mike Hancock said. "And then there's an orange cat that roams around. We call him 'Crunchy' because he looks pretty crunchy."
"If you had a dewy morning or you had rain, and you just went past, it just reeked of cat urine," neighbor Carole Berger said. "I mean, reeked."
Debbie McCrimmon, 50, told Channel 4 Action News reporter Sheldon Ingram that she started bringing cats into her home years ago because she wanted to prevent them from being mistreated and neglected in the streets. She said she doesn't notice the horrendous odor at her house that prompted the involvement of Animal Friends.
Some cats would not use the litter box, and the established male cats would spray the house for territory when new males were brought in, said McCrimmon, who added that she always tried to clean up the house.
McCrimmon's elderly mother came to the house to support her on Tuesday and was overwhelmed by the odor but insists that her daughter collected the cats out of compassion.
Police and Animal Friends said McCrimmon will be cited for having too many cats against the city code, which has a limit of five. Citations will also be issued for cruelty to animals, because of a lack of veterinary care, and harboring a nuisance, because of the odor coming from the house.Â