Lan­tana woman probed for an­i­mal abuse; 35 cats seized

The Palm Beach Post - - LOCAL & BUSINESS - By Olivia Hitch­cock Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ohitch­cock@pbpost.com Twit­ter: @ohitch­cock

LAN­TANA — Inside a Lan­tana home, 35 nearly feral cats lived among urine and fe­ces un­til au­thor­i­ties took cus­tody of them in mid-Septem­ber, re­cently re­leased court doc­u­ments show.

The home­owner is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated on an­i­mal cru­elty charges, ac­cord­ing to Palm Beach County An­i­mal Care and Con­trol. The Post is not nam­ing her be­cause she has not yet been charged.

On the evening of Sept. 17, Lan­tana po­lice re­sponded to the home on West Blox­ham Street, south of Lan­tana El­e­men­tary School and west of Fed­eral High­way. The home­owner, who ap­peared to have lived alone, was out­side the house yelling for help, ac­cord­ing to court records.

The woman was taken to a hos­pi­tal. Staff mem­bers told po­lice she likely would stay there for an in­def­i­nite amount of time. The woman asked po­lice to se­cure her home, ac­cord­ing to court records.

An of­fi­cer wrote that her home was in “de­plorable con­di­tions” and that dozens of cats lived among the filth.

The next day an An­i­mal Care and Con­trol of­fi­cer went to the home and spot­ted a seem- in­gly sick kit­ten un­der a car. The of­fi­cer could see three other cats inside the home.

A judge signed a search war­rant Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 au­thor­i­ties took the 35 cats — five of them dead — out of the home.

The woman told An­i­mal Care and Con­trol that only eight of the cats were hers. The oth­ers were strays, she said, and wan­dered in and out of her home.

An An­i­mal Care and Con­trol spokesman said the woman re­fused to sur­ren­der those eight cats, so au­thor­i­ties are hous­ing them un­til a court hear­ing this month de­cides whether she can keep them.

Most of the cats were “pretty close to feral,” said Capt. David Walesky, op­er­a­tions man­ager of An­i­mal Care and Con­trol. Au­thor­i­ties were able to send three kit­tens to Peggy Adams An­i­mal Res­cue League and had one cat adopted. Eigh­teen cats were eu­th­a­nized due to med­i­cal and be­hav­ioral is­sues, Walesky said.

The search war­rant in­di­cates An­i­mal Care and Con­trol has a long his­tory with the woman, dat­ing to 2009. Mul­ti­ple cats in the woman’s pos­ses­sion pre­vi­ously ei­ther had been seized or brought into An­i­mal Care and Con­trol.

She does not ap­pear to have faced crim­i­nal charges.

AN­I­MAL CARE AND CON­TROL

Palm Beach County An­i­mal Care and Con­trol seized 35 cats — in­clud­ing this one and five dead ones — from a Lan­tana woman’s home last month.

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