INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Some rabbit breeders are standing up in support of the man who had nearly 400 rabbits confiscated from his south side home Tuesday.
Indianapolis Animal Care and Control officials say they gave Rick Cartheuser a month to clean up, after finding his rabbits healthy, but in "deplorable conditions."
Officials originally investigated after a complaint of a smell coming from his yard.
Cartheuser is a breeder, who breeds rabbits for shows and to sell. He's the Vice President of the Indiana State Rabbit Breeders Association, and of the National Mini Rex Rabbit Club.
Many of the people who work with Cartheuser say they were shocked by the news.
- PHOTOS | Nearly 400 rabbits seized from home
"The rabbit breeders will be standing behind Rick; He's very well respected," said Carl Broady, Secretary/Treasurer for the Indiana State Mini Rex Rabbit Club. Broady says he's known Cartheuser for upwards of 12 years.
"He would never do anything to hurt the animals, or do something to hurt the industry," Broady added.
Marcus Brown, Deputy Chief of Enforcement for Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, says they'd tried to work with Cartheuser, but when they came back a month later, they say nothing had changed.
"There is feces, urine spots. Urine burns on their feet," explained Brown.
Cartheuser said Tuesday he'd made changes, and always cared for the animals.
"I worked awful hard to try to make some changes," said Cartheuser over the phone. "I had purchased a large industrial fan to help move air, and we had reduced the number of cages and rabbits."
"If you saw some of the new cages there, they were new. He had cleaned up," added Broady, saying the rabbits were fed and healthy. "I'm saddened for him."
"It was just one of those things, we gave the owner enough time to fix issues, make it more sanitary," said Brown. "They hadn't done anything to make it better."
Cartheuser faces care and treatment violations, that could total several hundred thousand dollars.
He can get his rabbits back if he cleans up, but he said Wednesday that financially, he's not sure he will be able to.
He'll have a court hearing next week.
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