Man charged after more than 300 living, dead cats taken out of Iowa home

A local animal rescue engaged in a massive effort to remove hundreds of cats, alive and dead, from a central Iowa home, leading to the arrest of a 65-year-old man.

The Des Moines Register reported that Animal Rescue League of Iowa took about 100 living cats and 200 dead ones at the home Tuesday.

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"Dozens of cats were pressed up against open windows, trying to get fresh air. Air quality levels inside the house are so toxic that ARL rescuers are required to wear respirators and protective suits and are only allowed in the house for 30 minutes at a time," ARL said in a Tuesday Facebook post. "Inside, multiple feet of feces and garbage covered every square inch of the home, including kitchen counters – and dead cats filled refrigerators and freezers, alongside the owner's own food."

Tom Colvin, CEO of ARL, said it was the worst case his team has seen in more than a decade.

“It’s absolutely horrendous,” he said. “I don’t even have the words to describe how bad this is.”

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that police arrested Dennis Carlson and charged him with five counts of animal neglect and three counts of failure to dispose of dead animal. According to Polk County records, he is also charged with one count of animal neglect resulting in serious injury or death.

Carlson remains at Polk County Jail on $15,000 bond, according to Polk County Sheriff's Office records. KMEG reported that Carlson made his first court appearance Wednesday.

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