TAMPA — Forty cats have been rescued from a mobile home covered in enough animal waste to make the floors unstable, authorities said Wednesday.
"Investigators described it as a litter box without litter," said Marti Ryan, a Hillsborough County Animal Services spokeswoman.
Animal Services on Tuesday arrested Kevin Lamar Addison, 46, of 314 Pecos Way and charged him with 40 misdemeanor counts of unlawful confinement or abandonment of an animal and five felony counts of animal cruelty.
An anonymous tip led investigators to the home in northern Hillsborough.
Veterinarians were treating the animals Wednesday for conjunctivitis, upper respiratory infections, dermatitis, open wounds, urine burns on skin and fur and chronic narrowing of passageways because of ammonia levels in the home. Ammonia levels become unsafe at a reading of 25; it was 38 in Addison's home.
Recovery for the 40 cats looks grim, Ryan said.
They were kept on one side of the mobile home with sealed-off windows and no ventilation, investigators said. Addison kept to the other, cleaner side.
Addison told investigators he took the cats in after he heard they might be rounded up because the strays had become a nuisance to neighbors.
Investigators and veterinarians entered the home wearing knee-high rubber boots, jumpsuits, masks and other gear to protect themselves from the filthy conditions, Ryan said. Clothes worn inside had to be thrown away. The home reeked from 15 feet away.
"The floor was so soaked with animal waste that it was moving. It was unstable," Ryan said. "This guy is the antithesis of a responsible pet owner."
Addison wants two of the 40 cats returned. But Ryan said Animal Services will petition a judge for custody and to bar Addison from owning any more animals.
He was being held in a Hillsborough County jail on $10,000 bail.
Ileana Morales can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.