TAMPA — A 66-year-old man was arrested Thursday after authorities discovered that he had crammed dozens of cats into four carriers and kept dead cats in a freezer, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
James Hopkins was home with more than 30 cats at 10706 N Annette Ave. on Thursday when deputies arrived at the 692-square-foot, one-bedroom cottage to serve an eviction notice.
Hopkins gathered the cats, forced them into four small carriers and hid them in two nearby foreclosed properties, deputies said. The cats were without food, water or sufficient air.
"They were unable to stand or turn around," an arrest affidavit shows.
Moments later, deputies discovered the hidden cats and called Animal Control.
They also found a kitten, its eyes "matted closed due to severe infection resulting from upper-respiratory infection," an arrest affidavit shows.
Hopkins told deputies he knew the kitten was sick but did not have the money to take it to a veterinarian, the affidavit shows.
Also found in the residence were 22 dead cats in two freezers, deputies said.
Hopkins faces 20 counts of unlawful confinement of an animal and one charge of animal cruelty.
He was booked into a Hillsborough County jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $2,000 bail.