A 63-year-old Las Cruces man has been sentenced to 4.5 years of probation and fined $1,000 in a case of alleged cat hoarding.
A state District Court judge on Thursday sentenced Charles Gonnell after he pleaded no contest to three charges of extreme animal cruelty under a plea deal.
Prosecutors dismissed 115 other charges, mostly misdemeanors but also including eight counts of animal cruelty.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that investigators found 52 diseased and underweight cats at at Gonnell's former home in Chaparral last year.
Defense attorney Peter Giovannini said Gonnell and his wife felt they had to care for stray cats in their neighborhood and that Gonnell had no bad intent.
Judge Fernando Macias said Gonnell should have called animal control to help with the sickly cats.
Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News.
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