Montgomery County animal control officers raided a home in Damascus yesterday and seized 130 rabbits, 49 guinea pigs, 15 goats and eight cats, saying some were sick and all were being maintained in dirty conditions.

The 9 a.m. raid in the 26000 block of High Street was the second in six months in which animals have been removed from the custody of Irvin James Rhinehart, 55, a house painter and wallpaperer who raises the animals for sale.

After a similar raid in June, Rhinehart was convicted in District Court of 13 counts of cruelty to animals and fined $2,500. The court allowed him to keep his animals on condition that he maintain them in a clean environment and that they be subject to regular inspections.

County officials said that last week many of the animals were found to be dirty, some with lesions and others with discharges from their eyes and noses.

Yesterday, when animal control officers returned, accompanied by police, they found animals that were "all dirty {and} some looked ill," said Martha Lamborn, manager of field operations for the Department of Animal Control and Humane Treatment. "The house was unsanitary, dirty. {There were} animal droppings all over the place."

Rhinehart denied that he mistreated or failed to care for his animals, which he said he "just accumulated" over the years.

He said some of the small animal cages were not well taken care of because he was awaiting the outcome of a Jan. 8 custody hearing before the county Animal Control Board stemming from his conviction.

"I didn't want to take the time and effort . . . if I wasn't going to have any animals to take care of," Rhinehart said in an interview.

"They {county officials} said the animals weren't being taken of, which will be contested in court," he said. "Of the approximately 200 animals that I had, I would say that 97 percent were healthy. A couple of them needed grooming, had some nits in their heads; the goats needed hoof trimming and a couple of {the animals} had the sniffles and colds, but nothing serious."

Rhinehart, who said he sells the animals as pets, said he is left with only some chickens, a few quail and a dog of mixed cocker spaniel and poodle ancestry.

Rhinehart said he intends to get better cages and to start his breeding business again.