A woman who had 16 cats seized from her South Hill home now faces criminal charges of animal cruelty.
Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service previously reported that 16 cats were taken Oct. 7 from Carolyn Pickett’s home at 4322 E. 14th Ave. The agency had received a tip that the cats were apparently abandoned while Pickett, 74, was being treated at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
For safety, SCRAPS officers wore rubber suits and respirators to enter Pickett’s home, which was littered with garbage, boxes, personal belongings and cat feces and urine, according to court documents. Many of the cats were inbred, and court documents say the home smelled “so bad that it makes your eyes water.”
One SCRAPS officer, who interviewed Pickett at the hospital, wrote that she “did not appear to be mentally cognizant of the level of care necessary for the welfare of the cats.”
The officer “asked Pickett if there were any little kitties or kittens. She said no – the cats were so inbred that when they were born, they did not look like kittens,” court documents say. “Pickett told her that she had found one of the newborn kittens; it was so deformed and dying so she scooped it up in a coffee cup and threw it outside her front door.”
A neighbor who had previously cared for the cats told SCRAPS officers that Pickett once asked him to help dispose of a dead kitten in a bag. “The cat was still alive and struggling to breathe when I opened the bag, but it was so sick and diseased that I decided it would be best to dispatch the animal to prevent further suffering,” the neighbor said, according to court documents.
Some of the cats removed from the home were emaciated and dehydrated. Others had sores and at least one had respiratory problems. They are being held at SCRAPS and aren’t currently up for adoption.
Pickett faces 16 counts of unsafe animal confinement, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. She also faces one count of operating an unlicensed kennel, a misdemeanor, and two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
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