Nearly 100 animals were removed from a Hesperia home after the pets' owner was found dead, city officials said on Wednesday.


"This is one of the largest [animal hoarding] instances we've had in the city," said Kelly Malloy, spokeswoman for the city of Hesperia.


San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials arrived at the home in the 9000 block of Evergreen Avenue on Monday to check on the female inside who had been sick, authorities said. When they entered they found the woman dead and numerous animals — mostly cats — living inside the home.


It took officials nearly three days to remove a total of 83 cats, several geese and two dogs from the property, Malloy said. The dogs were turned over to family members and the remaining animals were taken by Animal Control Officers.


"The house had obvious signs of large numbers of animals living in the house," said Malloy.


Witnesses reported there were animal feces and congealed cat urine throughout the home, which measures 1,078 square-feet.


"They were running free throughout the house," she said, adding the exterior appearance of the home would not have tipped anyone off that many animals were being kept inside.


Some warning signs someone may be a hoarder include:


• The inability to refuse a "needy" animal, despite having too many at home.


• A refusal to stop rescuing despite a lack of money or space.


• The unwillingness to adopt the "rescued" animal to a good home, and finding excuses to reject those who do want to adopt.


• An inability to care for the animals, physically and emotionally.


• Having mistaken beliefs about the hoarded animals' needs and about shelters or other alternatives.


• Avoiding behavior that would expose the hoarder, such as inviting guests to the home.


• Traditionally the exterior of the home is well-kept but the windows will be blocked out. The windows may also show a brown film along the bottom.


• Empty cat or dog food containers.


• Unsanitary conditions for the animals and the hoarder (frequently hoarders have extremely dirty homes that include the presence of animal waste).


If residents suspect their family member is hoarding animals, Malloy encourages them to call their local Animal Control office.


Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.