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GREAT FALLS - Great Falls police officers serving a warrant in a burglary case discovered 40 cats in the suspect's trailer house.

The cats were moved to the Great Falls animal shelter, where they are being quarantined. Shelter manager Jamie Bennett says some of the cats had upper respiratory problems, but were doing OK for the most part.

Sgt. Jeff Newton says Billy Ray Hackler was arrested last Friday on a warrant accusing him of burglary and theft.

Officers ended up calling Animal Control, Great Falls Fire/Rescue and others, who spent two hours gathering up the cats. Newton says the strong stench of urine and feces at first led investigators to believe there may have been a natural gas leak.

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Newton says Hackler and his wife may face charges for having so many cats.

 

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