A 78-year-old Arizona man known as an animal hoarder was found dead in his apartment and partially eaten by his pets, according to local authorities.
Neighbor Robert Halstead reported that Jerry Brown had died after he discovered the man lying in bed. Halstead told police that he hadn’t seen Brown in a week and had become concerned.
“When I went up to the house the smell was overwhelming,” Halstead, who had never been inside the house, said. “There’s 50 to 75 cats. There’s feces on the ground, anywhere from 6 inches to a foot deep.”
Halstead said that he barely recognized Brown, since his body was so decomposed. He added that there was a gun lying on the bed beside Brown, and that it was unclear how he had died.
“You couldn’t tell if he had inflicted any wounds on himself or died of natural causes,” Halstead said.
Brown’s daughter-in-law Cheryl Brown was surprised when they were notified of Brown’s death, and apparently had no idea of the conditions he had lived in.
Authorities have since told Mrs. Brown that it will be the family’s responsibility to remove the cats from the property, though she isn’t sure how that will happen since her husband is in the hospital with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Mrs. Brown herself has an autoimmune disorder.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he and his deputies are working with the Arizona Humane Society to rescue as many animals as possible. One of the animals, a 4-month-old kitten, is missing both eyes.