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Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009County: Anchorage
Defendant/Suspect: Deborah Ann Allen
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
The owner of a local cat-rescue nonprofit has been charged with 33 counts of animal cruelty after Anchorage police say they found dozens of cats, dogs and birds sick and wallowing in their own waste at her home and shelter.
Police say Deborah Ann Allen, 54, has for years hoarded cats and dogs, turtles, birds, lizards and a rabbit, cramming the critters in her cluttered Sand Lake home that reeked of feces and urine and had swarms of flies inside.
When police searched her home at 7101 Kitlisa Drive last Tuesday, they found 23 cats, eight dogs and one bird, many of them malnourished, dirty and with untreated injuries, according to an affidavit filed in court by Detective Jackie Conn. At the Chateau Pampered Purr shelter in Midtown, a nonprofit run by Allen, authorities found 50 or more cats in similar straits.
"It's not unusual for (animal hoarders) to present themselves as rescuers," Conn said Monday. "Typically, I'd have to say most, if not all, of them have good intentions. But when you get so many animals in a small space, it's almost impossible to keep above the illnesses and that kind of thing. It's a difficult situation."
According to Conn's affidavit, city Animal Care and Control began citing Allen for neglecting her animals in October 2004. Since then, Animal Control has received at least eight complaints about unclean living conditions and five more for loose dogs and cats at the Allen properties.
"In multiple complaints animal control officers and sometimes APD officers have described a foul urine and feces smell that can be detected from outside of the house on Kitlisa. The house is described as having feces outside and inside on the ground," Conn wrote. "At least twice officers commented on swarms of flies in the house."
INSIDE THE HOUSE
Conn got a search warrant for the home Sept. 30 and served it last week. Officers entering the 3,500-square-foot home found it cluttered and dirty, some rooms so full of personal property they "could not be entered," according to the affidavit. Everything was covered in animal hair and kennels were strewn about the home.
Police say all the animals were found in a dimly lit two-car garage. There was no air circulation and a small animal door leading to an enclosure outside, the flooring of which was spattered in feces.
Many cats had respiratory problems, including eye and nose discharges, sneezing, coughing and labored breathing, according to police. Some appeared undernourished and one had a bad infection around its left ear, Conn wrote.
Dogs had matted, dirty fur and eye problems, and a cockatoo was missing all the feathers from its chest, police said. There was a large amount of food left in a communal feeder for the animals and the water was filthy.
One dog, a bull terrier, appeared in very poor health, with hair missing from his chest and belly, pus coming from his eye and red skin on his face. The affidavit said, "this dog matches the description of a dog that had skin issues in 2006 that Allen was not treating properly."
The animals were seized and brought to animal control. Lab tests were still pending on some of the animals from the home, so whether some or all will be euthanized was not known Monday.
50 MORE CATS, 2 LIZARDS
Police then went to search Chateau Pampered Purr at 611 Tudor Road on Tuesday. Allen's license to operate the nonprofit Chateau Pampered Purr expired in December 2007 but its operation continues, according to police.
"In contacts with Allen, she has told officer that she takes in strays," police Lt. Dave Parker said. "Apparently she operates a cat adoption clinic at Petco."
At the chateau, police found 50 or more cats and two lizards in filthy conditions and with similar health problems. The animals remain there because animal control, besieged by the influx of animals from the first round, had nowhere to put them, animal control spokeswoman Brooke Taylor said.
"We don't have facilities here for that many animals, so we're trying to decide what's the best course of action," Taylor said. "There's an issue with, if there is sickness, we can't have these animals in a location where our healthy population here at the center could be exposed to something, so that's a concern of ours. (Also) just basic space."
In the meantime, Conn hopes Allen is feeding them.
THE OLDER SISTER
Conn has dealt with a similar situation before.
Allen's sister, Krystal Renea Allen, 55, was convicted in an animal hoarding case from 2004 in which police found 165 cats covered in filth, many of them sickly. In that house there were also at least a dozen exotic birds in cages and a couple of dogs, and, out in the yard, chickens.
Krystal Allen told officers she meant well by taking in strays but it had gotten out of hand. She later pleaded no contest to two animal cruelty charges, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Since her arrest Thursday, Deborah Allen has been freed on $750 bail. Allen did not return messages seeking comment. There was no answer at her home at the end of a dead-end, wooded street Monday night. Several cat-themed pieces of art decorated the cluttered porch. The smell of animal urine was noticeable.
Each misdemeanor animal-cruelty count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Allen, if convicted, could also be ordered to reimburse animal control for the cost of housing, feeding and veterinary care.
|A 55-year-old Anchorage woman, convicted last month on 32 counts of animal cruelty, did not turn over all her animals Saturday afternoon as ordered by a district court judge.|
Anchorage Animal Care and Control spokesperson Brooke Taylor says they were only able to recover 20 out of a possible 55 cats because Deborah Allen would not surrender them.
"We in took twenty animals from the second location on Tudor today. We estimate around 30 animals at that location," Taylor said. "We don't know when we'll be able to go back in for them because there are still some legal things going on. And we didn't have full cooperation today."
Allen was sentenced to ten years probation last week. The city removed 32 animals from her home last October.
Most of the animals rescued from Allen's home have been taken care of by local rescue groups for the last year. The cats rescued Saturday were taken to Animal Care and Control where they will be put up for adoption.
"Anybody interested in adopting these animals, we would love it if they gave us a call," Taylor says. "We're taking names, numbers which animals people are interested in. We hope to have some of these animals up for adoption early next week."
|Source: KTVA - Oct 2, 2010|
Update posted on Oct 3, 2010 - 1:02PM
|A woman charged with mistreating dozens of animals has been convicted on 32 counts.|
Police say 54-year-old Deborah Allen was charged with a total of 33 counts of animal cruelty in October of last year after finding 23 cats, eight dogs and a bird at Allen's home.
Thirty-two counts were for each animal found at her home and another count was for the animals still at her Chateau Pampered Purr Shelter.
Officials say the living situation for all the animals was unhealthy.
|Source: KTUU - Sept 7, 2010|
Update posted on Sep 12, 2010 - 4:19PM
|An Anchorage woman pleaded not guilty Friday after being charged with 33 counts of animal cruelty.|
Thirty-two animals have been removed from 54-year-old Deborah Allen's Sand Lake home.
The defense says about 50 more cats are still in her possession at her Chateau Pampered Purr shelter.
Allen did not appear at her arraignment this morning. She's out on bail under the condition that she will not take in any more animals.
The pre-trial conference is set for Nov. 9th.
|Source: KTUU - Oct 23, 2009|
Update posted on Oct 24, 2009 - 10:23PM
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