By Macy Jenkins

SHINGLE SPRINGS, Calif. (CBS 13) – More than 20 animals were rescued from a home in El Dorado Hills Monday night. Volunteers from Foothill Dog Shelter found cats, horses, goats and 21 neglected dogs inside of the home.

“It’s a bit overwhelming and daunting,” said Kerry McBride, President of Foothill Dog Rescue.

The homeowner spent years caring for people at the end of their lives so she inherited the majority of the animals from people who had passed away. The owner, who asked to remain anonymous, has been in the hospital for the last three months. It was her cousin who called Foothill Dog Rescue, too afraid to enter the home.

“They were all living in pee and poop and eating in bowls around there,” McBride said.

On Monday night, four volunteers entered the home and found fleas and rodent droppings surrounding the animals. Some of them had not been groomed for months and had long nails and overgrown fur. All of them had serious dental issues and were afraid to interact with humans. Volunteers described the smell as “unbearable.”

Board Member Michelle Weimer told CBS 13 it’s sad to see the dogs in this shape and is prepared to do everything she can to support the owner.

“I feel for her,” Weimer said. “I feel sorry, I hope she gets the support that she needs and the help that she needs. And we are here for her. So we are here to make her feel better and know that her dogs are going to be safe and make her happy so that’s our goal.”

Still, she’s reluctant to pass judgement on the owner and says there’s a big difference between neglect and abuse.

“I don’t see any reason that we would have needed to call the police in this particular situation,” McBride said. “We were contacted for help and we were able to go in and help. And dignity is still our number one concern.”

While caring for the animals is financially difficult, Weimer said turning them away wasn’t an option.

“You feel a sense of relief but a huge sense of responsibility because these dogs have no voice and we’re their voice and we have to take care of them,” she said.

Foothill Dog Rescue is still in need of small breed dog food, leashes, toys and puppy pads. While some of the dogs have already been adopted, most of them still need a place to call home.

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