The animal control officers who inspected Dennis Craven's home wore hazmat suits, and no wonder. Judging by video shot inside (it's on view below), his residence was as risky for people as it was lethal for cats. A total of 23 were located dead inside, including "three-and-a-half" found under a refrigerator. And that wasn't the end of the carnage, which has resulted in criminal charges against Craven.
Last month, KRDO-TV reported that personnel from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region headed to the 300 block of Pecos Drive in Security-Widefield, an area seen in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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Joe Stafford, director of animal law enforcement for the agency, told KRDO that his staff had been trying to resolve the situation for several weeks -- "but we finally had to take action."
This screen capture from an animal-control officer video shared with the station gives an indication of the shocking conditions found within.
In addition to piles of feces, the team found sixty cats. As noted above, 23 of them were dead, leaving 37 still alive. However, the survivors were found to have feline calicivirus, an ailment that made them highly contagious. As a result, the Humane Society reluctantly chose to euthanize them. Neighbors reported such a foul scent coming from the home that at least one wondered if the property would have to be condemned.
Craven, for his part, is said to have been uncooperative with authorities, and he didn't speak to KRDO, which caught this glimpse of him on camera:
Now, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Craven has been formally charged with sixty misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty -- one for each of the cats that died.
Possible punishment ranges from probation to eighteen months behind bars.
Craven's arraignment is scheduled for December 16. Look below to see the KRDO report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.