07/18/2012 12:33 pm ET

Highland Park Animal Hoarding: 21 Persian Cats Recovered From 'Disgusting,' Dark Garage

A suburban Chicago couple could be facing jail time after 21 neglected, malnourished Persian cats were recovered from their home's garage this month.

Jorjic Badalpour, 60, and Agnes Badalpour, 56, of Highland Park, Ill., have been cited for unlawful treatment of animals and the keeping of animals in violation of city ordinances, Patch reports.

Each of their 21 citations -- one for each cat found -- carry a fine of between $1,000 and $1,500 and a penalty of six months of jail, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Authorities were alerted to the neglected cats after Kelly Moyer, founder of the Tails of Hope animal rescue group, visited the home last month, according to NBC Chicago, after the Badalpours reached out to an area animal shelter.

The Badalpours apparently realized that the cats -- and the odor coming from the garage where they were being kept -- could present a problem as they are attempting to sell their home, CBS Chicago reports.

Moyer told the Tribune that the stench from the garage was "overwhelming." The cats had been living without food, litter boxes, proper grooming or ventilation for years, according to Patch.

"There was feces all over the floor. It was disgusting," she told the paper. "I've seen hoarder situations, but I'd say this was one of the worst."

Transferring the cats, many of which had matted fur, to Moyer's shelter took six days, NBC reports. Three cats have since died and three cats had to have their tails amputated. Another had surgery for an infected abdomen.

Two of the cats have already been adopted, Patch reports.

Earlier this month, dozens of animals, including almost 40 cats and three dogs, were removed from another alleged animal hoarder's home in suburban Berwyn.

Check out photos of some of the cats taken from the Highland Park home, courtesy of Jacob Nelson with Patch. Check out Highland Park Patch's Facebook page for more photos of the animals:

Cats In Recovery In Highland Park