According to a report filed by the Sheriff's Department, the director of animal services received a complaint on Friday from the health department asking the owner of a home in the 300 block of North Gate in Hot Springs to clean up the inside of the house.
Animal Services contacted the homeowner, as they did once before in 2010, and asked him to have the inside of the house cleaned up by Monday, to which he complied.
On Monday, the 70 West Fire Department responded to a house fire at the same address, and once the fire was extinguished, they noticed several dead cats, according to the report.
According to a neighbor, he woke up at roughly 5:00 a.m. to the smell of smoke. When he went to the house next door, he could hear the cats screaming inside, bouncing off the walls and windows.
The neighbor said he was horrified as he watched the house burn, but he was afraid to try to enter the closed structure due to back draft.
The report lists the suspect as David Smith, who works for the Sheriff's Department in the detention center, according to Sheriff's officials.
According to neighbors, it doesn't appear Smith lived at the home. A look inside revealed feces several inches thick on the floor. Neighbors say the stench was often unbearable.
"The smell is terrible, to the point you couldn't spend time outside," said Tambrea Bailey. "Surely charges are going to be brought, because it can't be humane for one cat to live in something like that, much less 40 cats."
Charges have not been filed yet, but Garland County Sheriff's officials say cruelty to animals or animal neglect are being considered, and it is probable that they will be filed.