NEWS RELEASE #: 16-133
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested a North Port man for failing to provide adequate food, water and medical care for 35 cats living in his home.
On June 24, Animal Services Officers responded to a welfare check at 5004 White Ibis Dr., at the home of Andrew Gerberich, DOB 8/30/55. Information provided by the North Port Fire Department indicated there were several cats living in deplorable conditions. When they entered the residence, officers discovered cat feces, urine and garbage scattered throughout. Officers were forced to use facial masks and could only stay inside the home for a short period of time due to the odor.
A total of 26 cats were removed from the home and remains of nine deceased cats were also discovered, most of which were skeletal remains. Gerberich surrendered the remaining cats to the custody of Animal Services so they could receive proper medical attention. Due to the lack of fresh air, food and water, several of the cats are suffering from infections to their upper respiratory system, eyes and ears. Several of the cats resorted to cannibalism for food. Gerberich told investigators he acquired the cats while serving as a cat rescue but due to financial struggles, he had become unable to care for the animals.
He is charged with 35 counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and 26 counts of Confinement of Animals Without Sufficient Food and Water. Gerberich is currently being held in the Sarasota County Jail on a $915,000 bond.