Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19667
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull), bird (pet), chicken
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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012

County: Dona Ana

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Jack Catlan

Dona Ana County Sheriff's investigators are charging a man with animal cruelty for the second time, after removing 25 dogs from his home. ABC-7's cameras were the only ones at the 500 block of South Fairacres throughout the day Thursday as deputies removed the seemingly matted poodles from Jack Catlan's home.

One dog appeared to be bleeding from his nose and face. A few were too matted to see their faces.

Investigators with the Doña Ana County Sheriff Department have filed 71 charges against a man accused of hoarding more than two dozen dogs and 13 birds on his property off Fairacres Road.

Complaints from neighbors about excessive noise and a foul odor prompted an investigation by the department's Animal Cruelty Task Force, which found 25 dogs and as many as 100 chickens and ducks at the home of Jack Catlan.

Catlan, 60, was arrested and charged Thursday.

Catlan faces two counts of extreme cruelty to animals, 33 counts of animal cruelty, 17 counts of failure to provide proof of rabies vaccination, 17 counts of having an intact animal without a permit, one count of failure to obtain a multiple-animal permit and one count of failure to obtain a litter permit.

Doña Ana County ordinances forbid property owners from having more than six animals on their property without a permit, and fowl cannot be kept in the front yard.

After obtaining a search warrant, investigators who assessed Catlan's animals on April 24 said they found poultry housed in cramped cinder-block pens in the backyard. A broken sewer line was also discovered during the investigation, easily accessible to the poultry that were allowed to wander on the property.

Catlan received a citation earlier this year from the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department after neighbors complained he was burning newspapers outside his home that dogs had urinated and defecated on.

During the investigation, 25 poodle-mix dogs and 13 fowl were taken into evidence from Catlan's property. All are being cared for by the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department's veterinarian and are receiving medical treatment for various diseases and illnesses.

Catlan was charged with animal abuse in June 2007 after Dona Ana County deputies removed nearly 50 animals from his home. Some of the dogs were taken to the Animal Rescue League in Canutillo where some were diagnosed with bladder infections and pneumonia. Most also had fleas and ticks, said the shelter's director at the time.

Catlan's case did not go to trial until 2008. By December of that year, a judge ruled the case had taken too long to go to trial, thus violating Catlin's constitutional right for a speedy trial and all charges were dropped.

"We have the same investigators on this case than we did 5 years ago. They're all observing the same violations. Same type of living situations, deplorable for these animals and so we're right back where we started," said Jameson on Thursday. She added Catlan did not have proof of vaccinations for the animals or the permit required to possess more than six animals.

Catlan said he is willing to work with investigators to do whatever is required of him to keep his animals, but also expressed disappointment. "It is my property and the animals are my property. I'm in total disagreement with the whole process. I'm in total disagreement with the laws as they are here in this county. I know other places do not have similar laws like this. But I'm being subjected to this again."

Jameson said Catlan's case has signs of animal hoarding. "They feel a need to care for the animals but they're just unable to do so and it becomes an obsession to them. I don't know if this particular home owner falls into that category right now but it's very common in these types of investigations."


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