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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

More than 70 animals were removed from a filth-covered mobile home in Arizona on Wednesday, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies removed 54 dogs and 19 cats — one of which had died — from a known animal hoarder's mobile home in Wittmann, Arizona, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

The homeowner, John Koepke, 71, had been involved in an animal hoarding case in 2011 that prohibited him from owning animals until May 2015. Details of that case weren't available.

Koepke was "highly emotional" and refused to surrender the animals to detectives, calling them "his children," the press release said.

Many of the animals taken on Wednesday appeared to have medical problems, the extent of which will not be known until after a veterinarian completes blood work and other assessments.

These animals were rescued from filthy conditions in an Arizona mobile home on Wednesday.Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

"Their eyes are matted shut and they're weeping," Officer Christopher Hegstrom, spokesman for Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, told NBC News, apparently referring to the animals.

Video taken by the sheriff's office showed feces lining the floor of the home.

One of the cats was nursing three Chihuahua puppies, reported

"At least the cat was saving some animals," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, reported "I wont say the same thing for this guy."

Koepke will be charged with 72 counts of failure to provide shelter. Additional medical charges are pending upon completion of the medical evaluations.

— Elizabeth Chuck