A Gahanna man was placed on probation for five years May 29 for harboring 166 cats, 55 of them dead, in what a Columbus Humane spokeswoman called "deplorable conditions" in his house.

Daniel Slyby, 60, pleaded no contest in Franklin County Environmental Court to a misdemeanor count of prohibitions concerning companion animals.

Municipal Court Judge Daniel R. Hawkins imposed a $100 fine and prohibited Slyby from owning animals or living in the same house with animals while on probation.

Slyby has accumulated 10 more cats since Columbus Humane removed the living and dead cats from his house in the 3600 block of Olde Ridenour Road on Dec. 13.

Hawkins said Slyby must find homes for those cats within 30 days or Columbus Humane will seize them.

All but about 25 of the remaining 111 ill cats removed from Slyby's residence eventually had to be euthanized because their health problems didn't improve with treatment, Columbus Humane spokeswoman Kerry Shaw said.

"The biggest factor, for us, is how much an animal is suffering," she said. "Many of them were not getting better and only getting sicker."

About 10 of the surviving cats are still available for adoption. Most have feline immunodeficiency virus, which makes them more susceptible to other illnesses, but they can live "long, happy, healthy lives" if they have regular checkups and are kept inside and away from other cats, Shaw said.

On May 29, Hawkins said Slyby's house will be subject to random inspections by Columbus Humane, Franklin County Animal Care & Control and probation officers to make sure he is following the judge's orders. If Slyby violates probation, he will have to serve 90 days in jail, Hawkins said.

The conditions of probation include undergoing a mental-health evaluation and following any recommended treatment.

Slyby's offense was "the result of some emotional issues in his life," his attorney, Edward Kirk, told the judge.

"He truly loves the animals and attempted to care for them to the best of his ability. He just got overwhelmed by the sheer numbers," Kirk said.

When Slyby was given an opportunity to make a statement in court, his only comment was: "I'm sorry that it happened."

jfutty@dispatch.com

@johnfutty