In a particularly heinous case of animal cruelty, a supposed animal rescuer abandoned dozens of cats in an efficiency apartment in Miami-Dade, Florida. When authorities arrived to investigate the foul stench, they found 30 cats in deplorable conditions -- most dead or unresponsive. The surviving, emaciated animals were forced to eat their fellow cats' decomposing bodies to survive.

The apartment was strewn with feces, urine and rotting flesh; some cats were reduced to mere skeletons.

“The amount of death and decay and filth inside this residence that cats were living in is absolutely beyond belief,” said Kathleen Labrada of Miami-Dade Animal Services, who called this "the worst case for our investigations team of animal neglect and cruelty that we’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, suspect Cheryn Smilen continued to run Smilen Cats Rescue, deceiving cat lovers who entrusted her to care for animals in need.

Smilen now faces 20 counts of animal cruelty, but pleaded not guilty at a hearing on March 19 and requested a jury trial.

Sign this petition urging Miami-Dade attorneys to handle this case with the severity it deserves, and call for a fitting sentence as well as a lifelong ban on Smilen ever having an animal again.

Other cats may still be suffering in Smilen's possession. Anyone with information regarding other cats linked to her or her rescue organization should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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