ESCONDIDO, Calif. — San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) last week rescued 78 rats found living inside a stalled van in the Escondido area, animal officials said.

Police were notified on June 1 about a vehicle in a hotel parking lot with expired registration plates and animals living inside, the San Diego Humane Society said in a news release Wednesday.

Humane officers and animal care staff performed a search of the van the first day, finding 23 adult rats and 7 pinkies (babies) living in dirty conditions inside the van. Traps with food were also set to capture additional rats hiding in different parts of the vehicle over several days.

More rats are believed to be hiding in the van as the staff continues to monitor traps daily, according to officials.

“This was a sad situation all around,” said Lt. Regina Price with San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement. “The owner had fallen on hard times and was unable to properly care for the animals.”

The owner of the van and animals has been contacted and agreed to surrender all animals to the nonprofit organization, per SDHS. No charges are expected to be filed.

The rats will be placed up for adoption at SDHS’s campuses in Escondido, El Cajon, Oceanside and San Diego once vaccinated and medically released, the agency said.

Anyone who needs help caring for their pets can contact San Diego Humane Society for assistance. If you suspect animal cruelty or neglect in your neighborhood, please report it to San Diego Humane Society by calling 619-299-7012 (press 1 to report animal abuse).