***WARNING -- Some may find the photos above to be disturbing***
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- A North Port man is in jail on Animal Cruelty charges for keeping dozens of cats in deplorable conditions in his North Port home.
60-year-old Andrew Gerberich is in the Sarasota County Jail on a $915,000 bond, charged with 35 counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and 26 counts of Confinement of Animals Without Sufficient Food and Water.
Animal Service Officers were tipped of about the house in the 5000 block of White Ibis Drive by the North Port Fire Department, after they learned of cats living in terrible conditions.
On June 24th, officers entered the house to find cat feces, urine and garbage scattered throughout. Officers were forced to use facial masks and could only stay inside the home for a short period of time due to the odor.
A total of 26 cats were removed from the home and remains of nine deceased cats were also discovered, most of which were skeletal remains. Gerberich surrendered the remaining cats to the custody of Animal Services so they could receive proper medical attention.
Due to the lack of fresh air, food and water, several of the cats are suffering from infections to their upper respiratory system, eyes and ears. Several of the cats resorted to cannibalism for food.
Gerberich told investigators he acquired the cats while serving as a cat rescue but due to financial struggles, he had become unable to care for the animals.