South Florida

Homestead Man Charged With Animal Cruelty After 40 Cats Brought to Shelter

Authorities say most of the cats suffered from serious medical issues, and seven had to be euthanized

A South Florida man is facing animal cruelty charges after authorities say he dropped off 40 cats suffering from a variety of medical issues at an animal shelter which had to euthanize several of the pets.

Patrick Francis Franey, 60, was taken into custody Tuesday on 40 criminal charges after he dropped the cats off at the Marathon Animal Shelter in February, Monroe County State Attorney's Office officials said.

Authorities said Franey, of Homestead, called the shelter and said he was being evicted and could no longer care for the cats. The shelter thought he was talking about two cats but when he arrived at the shelter he had 40 cats.

Shelter staffers and veterinarian found the cats were soaked with urine or had matted hair due to feces, were emaciated and dehydrated, and most were scratching and shaking. Many had significant medical issues including growing tumors in the mouths, fecal and urine scalding, severe untreated fight wounds and pneumonia, investigators said.

"One cat, near death, was collapsed in its own urine in a milk crate," an investigator wrote in a report. Three cats were missing eyes and several had open words or missing hair. Investigators said it appeared the cats were confined, kept to one location and kept without litter boxes.

Seven of the cats had to be euthanized, four due to medical issues and three “due to aggression as a result of lack of human contact," investigators said. Most of the cats were treated for a number of issues, and only four or five needed no medical attention, officials said.

Franey's bond was set at $64,000. Attorney information wasn't available.

Five of the cats have been adopted but 28 are still at the shelter. Anyone who wants to adopt the cats can call 305-743-4800.

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