County deputies take 31 cats from Fort Valley home

A Fort Valley man likely faces criminal charges after authorities removed 30 cats from his home Sunday night.

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 7 p.m. about a large number of cats not receiving proper care at a home in the 100 block of Paige Lane in the northern part of Fort Valley, Capt. Wes Dellinger said Monday.

Authorities obtained a warrant to search the residence and animal control deputies seized 31 cats, two of which were deceased, Dellinger said. Deputies took the surviving cats to the Shenandoah County Animal Shelter. The conditions of the surviving cats were not known Monday evening.

Charges are pending in the case, which remains under investigation, Dellinger said.

The owner and resident was in an area hospital at the time authorities executed the search warrant. He was undergoing treatment for a medical condition not related to the call pertaining to the animals, Dellinger explained.

High levels of ammonia prompted the animal control deputies to wear breathing equipment while they conducted the search of the property, Dellinger said.

“The ammonia levels were to the level that our meters did not even read the level,” Dellinger said. “The level was so high.”

Fire Marshal David Ferguson also responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation. Rescue workers also came to provide aid if necessary, Dellinger said.

Ferguson ordered the house condemned because of the high levels of ammonia inside, Dellinger said, adding that investigators tried to ventilate the house to help decrease the ammonia levels inside. Authorities were on the scene through the night and cleaned up in the early morning hours Monday.