GRANITE FALLS, Wash. – Investigators found at least 31 pets dead inside a foreclosed and abandoned Granite Falls home after a locksmith reported a foul odor.
A team from Pasado's Safe Haven is assisting the Granite Falls Police Department in removing the bodies.
"Seems like everywhere you stepped there's an animal. They literally did just lay down and die," said Amber Chenoweth of Pasado's.
Diane Cowling, the former homeowner, lived with the dead animals up until last month.
"I just shut down. I didn't see it, I didn't want to deal with it," she said.
Cowling says she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then her home went into foreclosure and no shelter would take her animals.
Cowling just moved out of the home last month. She says she just got overwhelmed and couldn't afford to feed the animals.
"I spent as much money as I could feeding them, taking care of them, but there wasn't enough money to go around," she said.
But Chenoweth says there is no excuse. She believes this is the definition of animal cruelty. Some of the animals have been dead for more than six months.
"What I saw was just literally four inches of feces on every surface, the kitchen table, feces this high and trash, dead animals with trash thrown over them," said Chenoweth.
Cowling is now living in an apartment with her son. She doesn't believe she should be charged. She says she needs help.
"Everybody is there criticizing but no one was there when I needed help. Where were they when I needed help?" she said.
Three cats found alive in the home have been taken to the Pasado's sanctuary.
Cowling and her son will face 31 counts of animal cruelty.
A woman was in tears as she left roses on the front porch of the home.
"I drive by here every day and I had no idea," she said