SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento man was arrested Saturday after authorities found more than 300 cats and kittens stacked inside freezers in the man's home.
Officers were called out to the house on the 7400 block of 19th St. around 8:30 a.m. Saturday after a call to 911 was disconnected, according to Sacramento Police Sgt. Jim Hose.
Hose said Michael Parnell, 46, initially refused to allow officers inside his home. Fearing for the safety of Parnell's 81-year-old mother inside, officers entered to discover a horrible stench, a large number of live cats and unsafe conditions in the house.
Upon further investigation, Hose said officers found three large freezers filled with hundreds of dead cats and kittens. Investigators were working to determine why the man was saving the carcasses and if there was any cruelty involved.
Parnell, who also goes by the name of Michael Vondueren, was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Jail on a felony charge of possessing an assault weapon as well as a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.
If investigators determine Parnell was involved in the deaths of the cats he could face additional criminal charges, Hose said.
Sacramento Adult Protective Services officials were also called out to the scene. It's unclear where the elderly woman was taken, but the house was sealed shut by order of a city building inspector.
"Every so often, if they wouldn't clean or something, there was a smell, an odor that just reeks on the street," neighbor Marquita Trotter said. "I was afraid to have a party here and have family come over."
Sacramento City Animal Care Services senior officer Pete Alarcon said about 20 live cats were taken from the home by animal control personnel. The surviving animals were being examined by a veterinarian.
"It's unusual that such a big number of animals be kept in the one residence," Alarcon said.
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