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CALL 6: Rabbit breeder agrees to fines, surrendering animals

Posted: 3:51 PM, Nov 30, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-01 03:12:26Z

INDIANAPOLIS – A rabbit breeder accused of mistreating dozens of rabbits has reached an agreement with the city.

Richard Cartheuser admitted to two counts of care and treatment violations and agreed to pay a $200 civil penalty and $133 in court costs by February 1, 2017.

Last month, Indianapolis Animal Care Services confiscated dozens of rabbits Cartheuser’s property on Alston Drive after receiving a complaint.

Indianapolis Animal Care Services officers impounded 36 rabbits and 2 dogs on October 4.

A city spokesperson said the rabbits were found living in unsanitary conditions, similar to the rabbits found in 2013.

Animal control officers noted the garage where the rabbits were being held smelled strongly of urine and feces.

The rabbits were divided into 5 wire cages without any bedding, according to the city’s report.

“The catch trays were full of rabbit urine and feces,” read the city’s report. “The garage is very dirty with dust and dirt hanging from everywhere, including the rabbit cages. The smell in the garage from the animals was very strong and unpleasant.”

When officers began to move the cages, they noticed piles of feces piled up on the floor and dirty water bowls, records show.

As part of the agreement reached with the city, Cartheuser agreed not to keep any animals with the exception of his dog, Grace.

The breeder also agreed to four random inspections at his property in the next two years.

The city agreed to dismiss the remaining 36 counts of care and treatment violations.

Cartheuser told Call 6 Investigates Wednesday he plans to sell the property and move.

“I’m done and I want nothing to do with animal control,” said Cartheuser. “It’s just a money grab.”

Cartheuser denied the animals were kept in poor conditions.

“All of the animals were healthy,” said Cartheuser. “They were never abandoned.”

Cartheuser is a truck driver, and was not home when the city cited him in October.

He is not upset about giving up all of his rabbits.

“That’s no big deal to me,” said Cartheuser. “I’ve moved on.”

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In 2013, breeder Rick Cartheuser was cited for 329 counts of care and treatment violations, and animal control officers confiscated 375 rabbits from his home.

Cartheuser signed an agreement in 2013 that allowed him to claim 15 of his rabbits and they had to be spayed and neutered.

He is not allowed to breed rabbits in Marion County, according to city documents.

As part of the 2013 agreement Cartheuser reached with the city, he agreed to future inspections by the city.

The rabbits confiscated in 2013 were relocated to sanctuaries with the help of PetSmart Charities, according to a city spokesperson.