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Man pleads not guilty to 20 counts of animal cruelty

Wed., July 6, 2011, 11:39 a.m.

A Spokane Valley man pleaded not guilty today to 20 counts of animal cruelty-related charges after several cats were found in late May starving and sick in his travel trailer.

Denzil E. Twitchell, 67, pleaded not guilty to two counts of animal cruelty in the first degree, seven counts of animal cruelty in the second degree, 10 counts of transporting or confining animals in an unsafe manner and one count of operating a private kennel.

“I didn’t do anything,” Twitchell said outside of court.

The cats were discovered on May 24 when Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service investigated a complaint of cats being kept at 918 N. Bowman Road. Animal Protection Officer Nicole Montano arrived at the residence and learned that Twitchell had eight adult cats and two kittens.

“Montano was overwhelmed by the high ammonia of cat urine in the travel trailer and noticed that most of the cats appeared to be very sick with nasal discharge, eye discharge, sneezing and diarrhea,” according to court records. “Twitchell stated that he did not have the money to take the cats to a veterinarian as needed and that he loved his cats and was not willing to surrender them to SCRAPS.”

On May 25, Montano returned with a search warrant and removed the cats. Two of the cats were suffering from severe starvation due to chronic illness and they were immediately euthanized.

The remaining cats were treated for an array of diseases and infections and impounded by SCRAPS.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese set a trial date for Sept. 26 and ordered Twitchell not to own any cats as a condition of his release.



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