RACINE, WI – A man faces prison time and fines after the Racine County District Attorney’s Office said he abandoned and neglected cats in a flea-infested home without water.

Andrew Ladwig, 50, of Racine, was charged Thursday by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with four counts of intentionally abandoning animals, four counts of negligently providing improper animal shelter sanitation, and not providing proper drink to a confined animal.

If convicted of all charges, Ladwig faces up to nine years in prison and/or fined up to $180,000.

According to the criminal complaint, officers with the Racine Police Department responded on October 4 to a report of abandoned cats left in a home at 1923 Blaine Avenue. Ladwig owned the house, which was in deplorable condition. He left because he had been evicted when the home had been condemned. He left the cats behind when the police removed him. 

When officers responded, they noted that the home was “in deplorable condition, and was infested with fleas and flies.” At the time, Ladwig told police the cats were “fine,” and he didn’t believe in vaccinating them.

Police found two orange adult short hair cats and two adult flame point Siamese cats. All of them had lost had on their neck and head. They also had scabs and fleas.

“The house had an overwhelmingly strong odor of feces and urine that law enforcement could smell through their Tyvek suits and respirators,” the complaint reads. “There was no food or water source for the animals.”

The complaint summary also said that the abandoned and neglected cats had been “confined without suitable food or water, in a home interested with flies, fleas and fecal matter.”

These conditions represented a “substantial risk of death or great bodily harm.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.