“We couldn’t believe what we found inside the home,” police officer Chip Daniels said. “There were cats and dogs everywhere, just covered in fecal matter. It was sad.”

More than 20 cats and dogs were removed from a home in San Antonio on Sunday morning. Officials rescued the poor creatures from what they described as “an animal hoarding situation.”

Police officer C. Daniels served a warrant  on the home around 8 a.m. on Sunday. After receiving noise and smell complaints from neighbors, officer Daniels and his partner Jason Stewart paid a visit to the 100 block of Sioux Circle. When they knocked on the door, there wasn’t an answer… But they knew someone was home, because they saw the curtains move and a person peek out from behind the blinds.

Eventually, after much knocking, a woman in hospital scrubs came to door.

As of 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, 26 cats and dogs were removed from Dr. Amanda Nichol’s home.

Here’s more from KSAT:

San Antonio city ordinances state you can only have a maximum of three pets.

Authorities described the conditions in the home as “absolutely appalling.” 

“Based on the fecal matter, the ammonia with urine — there are some health concerns that are possible, so as a precaution (officers) wore suits with gloves and everything taped and masks to make sure they don’t inhale anything,” Lt. Chris Kotzur of the San Antonio Police Department said.

The animals rescued from the home appear to be in fair condition, police said.

They will be taken to a local animal shelter and screened for health concerns.

The pets may be used as evidence as the investigation continues. When the case is closed, officials said the animals could be put up for adoption.

The owner of the home the dogs were rescued from could be facing criminal charges, but police said they are still investigating.

The San Antonio Police Department said animals are being checked for microchips to see if any of the animals belonged to a different owner.

The owner of the home, Dr. Amanda Nichols, was not available for comment.

What would make someone want to have so many animals in their home? Are they crazy?

Well, veteranarian Dr. Michelle Gonzalez says hoarding is a mental illness.

“People don’t hoard animals necessarily just because they want to do it. It’s kind of like a compulsive disease,” she said. “People get emotionally attached to these animals. They’re not neglecting them and abusing them because they are trying to cause them harm or be mean, on the contrary they’re hoarding them because they love them so much.”

“It’s important to get hoarders help from a mental healthcare professional, otherwise they could go right back to collecting animals all over again. It’s also important to report suspected cases of hoarding to humane officers.”

Do you believe animal hoarding is a mental illness?