A Yaphank man who kept three dozen cats in deplorable conditions has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty after repeated efforts to help him failed, the SPCA said Friday.

“I think it is unfortunate many people start out with good intentions and they start accumulating animals, but sometimes it gets to the point where it gets out of control and, unfortunately, I believe people are afraid to ask for help, and they should,” Suffolk SPCA Capt. Paul Llobell said by telephone.

Neighbors began complaining about two years ago, prompting the SPCA to try to work with Robert Barrett, 76, to improve conditions for the “Agora-type” cats, he said.

“Our investigators tried to counsel and educate the subject, Mr. Barrett, but to no avail,” Llobell said.

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While the SPCA counseled Barrett and gathered evidence, the Town of Brookhaven moved to condemn his home, Llobell said.

Barrett was charged on Sept. 11, 2014, but due, to the backlog of cases, pleaded guilty on May 9, 2016.