- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A Butte man who abandoned dozens of cats in a rental house for up to two years has been given a two-year suspended sentence with the Department of Corrections.

The Montana Standard reports (http://bit.ly/1WvrMDr ) District Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced 55-year-old Douglas Dean Billman for felony animal cruelty on Thursday. The judge ordered Billman to pay nearly $6,700 in restitution to the Chelsea Bailey animal shelter and the owner of the rental property, who ended up tearing down the house.

Billman was arrested in July 2014 after animal control officers found 54 cats between the ages of 6 months and 2 years in the house, with others in various stages of decomposition. Court records say fecal matter was present on every surface in the house.

Veterinarians euthanized 23 of the cats due to dehydration and starvation.

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Information from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com

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