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SUBURBAN “CAT HOUSE” DRAWS NATIONAL ATTENTION

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Thursday, March 10, 2011— A call for Cook County Sheriff’s Police to respond to a neighborhood concern about an “animal problem” at a suburban mobile home park provides the set-up for an episode of the nationally televised program “Cops,” which is set to air this weekend.

“Cops” airs on Fox-32 at 7 p.m. Saturday and this week’s show includes the episode which producers dubbed “Cat House” showing Sheriff’s Police Officer Robert Mousel’s response to a July call in the 7500 block of Elmhurst Road in unincorporated Des Plaines.

Mousel arrived at the trailer home to find dozens of living and dead animals abandoned by a man who could no longer stand the smell inside his home, so he moved outside and then to another home. “Cops” producers had been riding with Mousel, among other officers, for six weeks last summer, in search of calls that are not the norm and which national audiences might find interesting.

Mousel, a 13-year officer, walked into the trailer to find more than 50 cats living inside and in its walls, along with other animals, including a rabbit, snake and turtles. Feces, fleas and dead animals were found in every room, though some were rescued by Mousel, animal control investigators and volunteers with the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge.
David Heim, 56, was ultimately charged with 53 counts of cruel treatment to animals. Neighbors said after the odor inside became too strong, Heim moved into a tent in his yard, before abandoning the premises altogether last summer.

This “Cops” episode is the third to feature sheriff’s police officers as a result of last summer’s ride-along, which was the first time “Cops” had been with a local department in the popular program’s 22-year history. Though crews with Langley Productions were there as officers carried out search warrants, hunts for fugitives and gang/narcotics investigations, they gravitated toward calls that might have initially seemed routine, but which instead wound up providing lighter moments for a TV audience.

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