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Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004County: Alameda
Alleged: Dan Bailey
A 44-year-old man faces charges of animal cruelty and neglect stemming from the seizure earlier this month of 37 sickly cats from the cluttered warehouse storage unit where he was living.
Dan Bailey, who is now living in San Francisco, was also cited for living in a non-residentially zoned storage unit, police said. He didn't show up for a hearing on the case scheduled for Wednesday.
Although the investigation, now in the hands of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, is still under way, officials said the cat seizure was of unusual magnitude.
The animals were discovered Feb. 10 when police came to evict Bailey, who had failed to meet payment deadlines for a storage unit at 23978 Connecticut St. owned by Associated Screw Machine Products in an industrial area.
The cats, which included a few kittens, apparently had been living in a room piled to the ceiling with an assortment of clutter that included records, clothes, old bicycle parts and papers, said Greg Armes, director of the Hayward Animal Shelter.
Animal Control Officer Paul Sanchez called the conditions "very unsanitary" and described animals living next to pans "overflowing with feces and urine."
It's the most awful thing I've ever seen in my life," said Denise Allen, an employee at Screw Machine Products Co., which operates on the same lot. "The smell -- it's nothing I've ever experienced in my life."
Preliminary veterinary reports indicate that most of the cats had "highly contagious diseases" including herpes, ear mites and upper respiratory infections, Armes said.
Dan Bailey denied the accusations and said his landlord, Mike Schenkhuizen, was just "causing me a lot of trouble."
He said the cats were kept in good condition and only became sick because they were seized by animal control officers.
Although Bailey had been renting the storage unit since December, it is unclear how long the cats had been living in the storage unit or how they ended up there.
Sanchez said the number of cats kept in such close quarters mirrored the profile of "animal hoarder," a disorder where an individual collects a sizable number of animals and fails to take care of them.
Bailey said he took the cats in because they were homeless.
"There are so many cats, and nobody wants them," Bailey said.
For now, the cats are undergoing treatment at the Hayward Animal Shelter. Sanchez said the shelter is determining which animals could be kept and is looking for volunteers to adopt them.
Schenkhuizen said he is looking at thousands of dollars to repair and fumigate the storage unit.
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