Officials from Daviess County Animal Control removed 30 cats Tuesday afternoon from a home on Jed Place and charged the homeowner with second-degree cruelty to animals.

Phillip Ray, of the 700 block of Jed Place, was charged after animal control officers were called to the home after a complaint by a neighbor, Animal Control Director Ashley Thompson said.

The home had an overwhelming smell of cat urine and was full of cat feces, Thompson said.

The odor "is probably one of the worst ammonia smell" she has experienced while working similar cases, she said.

"The litter boxes hadn't been cleaned for weeks," Thompson said. "They were using the house for their litter box."

Clark said the house contained about eight kittens as well as adult cats. The kittens "were pretty sick," she said.

"We (took) 30 cats, and there are at least three more" there were not caught, she said. The cats were taken to the animal shelter where they will be assessed to determine if they're healthy.

Ray said he wants some of the cats back so animal control officials will work with him to return a number of cats. Any cat Ray receives back will be spayed or neutered first, Thompson said.

"He doesn't want to get the kittens back," she said, adding that Ray will have to make the home habitable.

"I told him he'd have to get the house cleaned up" before any cats are returned, Thompson said. "It's not fair for the cats to be living like that. They didn't have a choice."

Second-degree animal cruelty is a misdemeanor and is defined in part as when an animal is subjected to "cruel neglect." Tuesday's case on Jed Place comes two months after animal control officers removed about 40 cats from an apartment on West Byers Avenue.

"We had finally gotten down to a manageable number" of cats at the shelter when the report of the Jed Place home was received, Thompson said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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