PASQUOTANK COUNTY -- As many as 80 cats were found in what authorities call an illegal cat rescue.

Pasquotank County Sheriff's deputies were alerted and checked a rented building in the 1900 block of Nixonton Road on Wednesday.

'It is illegal because it has not been licensed by the State,' Sheriff Randy Cartwright told 'There were too many cats and the conditions that they are being kept are in are of concern.'

Sheriff Cartwright said the situation may have been going on for months, but the investigation is continuing.

He said the building was rented by a couple now living in Chowan County, NC.

The felines are being moved by the SPCA of Northeastern NC in Elizabeth City. Authorities and the district attorney are reviewing the situation to determine if any charges should be filed.

If you want to help the SPCA with donations for the cats' care, contact the SPCA at 252-338-5222.

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