SANTA ANA ( — Police say they removed 48 cats and two dogs from a woman’s home in Santa Ana Wednesday.

Authorities had tried for months to convince Nancy Richling, 63, to relinquish the multiple stray animals she had sheltered to cat rescue groups, but she refused help, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

“I think it’s a case of a woman trying to do good who got in over her head,” Bertagna said.

Police said they’ve received numerous complaints about the smell, prompting them to confiscate the cats Wednesday.

Authorities arrived at her home in the 1200 block of South Rosewood Avenue and found 15 to 20 cats living outside and around a couple dozen more being kept in the house. Officials also discovered one deceased feline.

Many of the cats showed signs of disease and injuries.

“Several have torn corneas, abscesses, eye infections, ear mites,” Bertagna said.

Officials said at least half the cats tested positive for scabies.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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