A rural Madrid man accused of hoarding hundreds of living and dead cats at his home has accepted a plea agreement in Polk County District Court.
Dennis M. Carlson, 65, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to animal neglect, a serious misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $1,875, according to the plea agreement. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20.
Four counts of animal neglect and three counts of failure to dispose of dead animals were dropped by the state as part of the plea agreement.
A Polk County sheriff’s deputy responded to a “civil” matter at Carlson’s residence on NW 158th Avenue near Madrid on May 28, 2019. When the deputy arrived, he observed an “overwhelming number of cats in the house.”
When the deputy approached the residence and opened the front door, a strong odor of urine and feces was detected, which prompted the deputy to contact the animal control officer.
Throughout the investigation, 186 livings cats and 194 dead cats were found at the scene. Since the investigation began, 10 cats died while receiving treatment by the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines, and 12 were euthanized, Stephanie Filer, a spokesperson for the ARL told the Tribune.
As of Wednesday morning 107 of the 186 felines found alive have been adopted, while 10 are still up for adoption, Filer said. Thirty-five other cats were transferred to other licensed shelters.