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Originally published January 22, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Page modified January 23, 2011 at 9:58 PM

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31 dead animals found in Granite Falls home

A mother and son are under investigation and facing several counts of animal cruelty after Granite Falls police discovered 31 animals — cats and dogs — dead in a feces-filled home.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A mother and son are under investigation and facing several counts of animal cruelty after Granite Falls police discovered 31 animals — cats and dogs — dead in a feces-filled home.

A locksmith called to changed the locks at the home in the 500 block of Granite Avenue was overwhelmed with a foul smell and called police Friday afternoon.

When Granite Falls Police Chief Dennis Taylor arrived, he was shocked by the conditions, saying it is the worst he's ever seen.

"Does the word 'indescribable' mean anything to you?" he said. "These were deplorable conditions — feces 3 inches deep over every surface of the house, and six months of garbage everywhere."

The house had been foreclosed in October, but it was clear a 65-year-old woman, who had been the homeowner, and her 39-year-old son were living there off and on for months, allowing the pets to starve to death, Taylor said.

"The animals were dead, laying down on a shelf or laying under furniture or in a box," he said. "Some were skeletonized."

Police found three cats emaciated and barely alive. They have been taken to Pasado's Safe Haven sanctuary, where they will be examined by an on-site vet and receive care.

Saturday, a team from Pasado's helped Granite Falls police remove the animal remains. Pasado's will perform necropsies to determine the cause of death.

Police referred the case to the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office for possible animal-cruelty charges, which is punishable up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The two suspects, who have no criminal history, weren't arrested.

Christine Willmsen: 206-464-3261 or cwillmsen@seattletimes.com

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