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MAN CHARGED AFTER ABANDONING CAT-FILLED MOBILE HOME

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Friday, August 20, 2010— A Des Plaines man has been charged after he abandoned his mobile home, leaving behind dozens of live and deceased cats inside, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.

David HeimDavid Heim, 56, formerly of the 7500 block of Elmhurst Rd., was charged Thursday with fifty-three misdemeanor counts of cruel treatment.  Detectives have been searching for Heim since he and his roommate abandoned their mobile home after threats of eviction last month. 

On July 29th, a Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer responded to a neighbor’s call about an “animal problem” at the home.  The complainant told police the owner of the home left approximately two days earlier and there were still pets in the residence. 

When police arrived, a strong smell of ammonia emanated from the trailer home, and the officer observed cats at the windows, roaming around the yard and underneath the residence.  When the investigating officer entered, he discovered approximately fifty cats, including newborn kittens, inside every room of the home.  Cats were also found within the walls and ceiling of the residence, and one was trapped inside a closed dresser drawer.  Rotting cat carcasses were also found inside the home, and there were feces everywhere.  No food or water had been provided for any of the animals.

The officer was able to secure 28 cats and one rabbit with animal crates.  A snake was also removed from the house, along with a number of dead turtles.  The animals and reptiles were transported to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge.  Two rescued cats later died.

Aware that investigators were searching for him, Heim turned himself in on August 18th.  Heim explained that he had no money to take care of his pets.  He told detectives he’d lived in the mobile home for two years, and initially brought 25 cats with him that multiplied over time.  Eventually the mobile home became infested with feces and fleas, and the smell inside became so bad that he and his roommate slept outside.  After his landlord threatened eviction, Heim and his roommate abandoned the mobile home, and their pets, on July 27th.

The investigation into others who may be involved continues.  David Heim is scheduled to appear in Rolling Meadows court on September 3rd. 

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