NASHUA, N.H. (AP) – Animal control and humane society workers removed 27 abandoned cats Wednesday from an apartment reeking of cat urine and feces.

The cats, of varying ages, were left behind by tenants facing eviction, said Melissa Gauveia, a leasing agent for Gauthier Realty.

Robert and Rose Savage and their two children left the three-bedroom apartment late Tuesday night, taking seven cats with them but leaving behind more than two dozen in filthy conditions, Gauveia said.

“When we heard complaints from the neighbors, we figured there were three or four cats, tops, not seven times that many. That’s just unacceptable,” she said.

Tenant George Smith, 36, said he called the realty company to complain about the stench.

“It was just disgusting,” he said. “We had to have candles burning all day from the smell … we could smell it all the time.”

Police on Thursday were not sure whether there would be any criminal charges.

Despite living in foul conditions, the cats appeared to be in good health, said Laura Lemieux, an animal care director at Nashua’s humane society, where a temporary shelter was set up for them. Lemieux hoped the public would step up to help care for the cats, because the shelter already is beyond capacity.

Humane society rules give owners 48 hours to claim their pets. After that, pending a clean bill of health, they will be put for adoption or foster care within seven to 10 days. She said the cats ranged from kittens 8- to 10-weeks old to pregnant females.

Information from: New Hampshire Union Leader,

AP-ES-08-31-06 1001EDT

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