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Washington County Man Charged With 77 Counts Of Animal Cruelty And Neglect

WASHINGTON COUNTY (KDKA) -- A Washington County man is facing dozens of animal neglect and cruelty charges after state police say both cats and cockatiels were found living in deplorable conditions.

James Lane, 46, is facing 77 counts of animal cruelty and neglect. State police say the animals were living among feces and garbage, and the cats also were infested with fleas.

The trooper handling the investigation told KDKA that 16 cats and 13 cockatiels were found in the basement of the house, which is located on Browntown Road.

Brad Shaffer, a neighbor, said he saw animal control there several weeks ago.

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(Photo Credit: C.R.I.C.A. A.T.)

"They came in. I let them park at my house so they could get in and take care of what they needed to do," said Shaffer.

Shaffer said he didn't see investigators taking the animals out of the home and never interacted with Lane. KDKA's Amy Wadas knocked on Lane's door, but no one would talk.

While the animals had clean food and water, troopers said the cockatiels were being housed in filthy cages. They said the home wreaked of urine and feces, and most of the animals needed veterinary care.

On top of that, investigators say one of the cats had a bad infection on its ear with a large bump that appeared to be a tumor.

"Why would they keep that many animals in the house? Just not right," said neighbor Corrina Kelley. "It wasn't fair to the animals."

A few days after the discovery, state police said Lane agreed to surrender the animals. When investigators went inside the home, they said it smelled like bleach, an indication that the home had just been cleaned.

"I feel bad for the animals, of course. Hopefully, they'll get relocated or find better homes," said Shaffer.

A humane officer said the animals are all in good condition now. She said the birds have since been placed in proper homes, while some of the cats have been placed in reputable rescues. Other cats still need a home.

You can reach out here if you're interested in giving one of the remaining cats a home.

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