A cat lover who shares his home with more than 70 pets is being investigated by both police and the RSPCA over claims he is subjecting the animals to squalid living conditions.
Ian, who uses the surname ‘Catmando’, lives with dozens of felines in a small terraced house and claims he trains them up to help people with epilepsy.
The 56-year-old describes himself as a "professional cat carer and showman" and has defended his right to look after the animals at his property in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
Ian says he spends more than £5,000 a year caring for his pets and has looked after more than 5,000 cats since 1992.
But he is now at the centre of an RSPCA probe after animal rights activists gathered outside his home last week to stage a protest over concerns for the cats' welfare.
They say the pets cannot roam free because the back garden is covered with chicken wire, barbed wire and metal bars.
Photographs from inside his house show dozens of cats piled on top of cluttered surfaces and living in seemingly filthy conditions.
But unemployed Ian says his pets are happy and healthy, adding that he has trained thousands of felines over the years without any complaints.
Ian regularly walks up to 15 moggies down the street at a time and claims he also trains them for a post-traumatic stress disorder recovery charity.
Ian, who is not married and has no children, said: "I’m a professional cat carer and have been since 1992.
“I’ve looked after over 5,000 cats and trained up 2,000 as alternative treatments for epilepsy.
"Cats can recognise when someone has an epileptic fit coming, sometimes hours in advance.”
Ian insists that “everything is legal and above board”, and claims that police who regularly visit his property have told him that “the cats are all healthy”.
Ian has hit back at the protesters who have been gathering on his street daily since last Thursday and says that the stress caused one of his cats to have a miscarriage.
He added: ”The protesters reckon it is illegal and immoral to train and walk cats. That’s stupidity, what’s wrong with walking cats if people walk dogs?
“At the end of the day, if you could pick on people who walk cats, who is it going to be next?”
Lincolnshire Police this week warned protesters to stay away from the property so that the relevant authorities could do their jobs.
An RSPCA spokesperson said they were aware of the protests and will “always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare”.
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