Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19559
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: cat
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Prosecutor(s): Ann Manes

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Thursday, Apr 5, 2012

County: Jefferson

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Karen Crooke

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

The Beaumont home where 20 dead cats were found Thursday is being foreclosed on and the owner is listed as a woman known for her involvement in cat shows.

Animal services and police are trying to get in touch with Karen Crooke, former president and publicist of the Coastwind Cat Club, to speak with her about the dead cats found at her home on Sandelwood near W. Lucas and Delaware.

Matthew Fortenberry with Animal Services, said no charges have been filed against her, but animal cruelty charges could come.

Fortenberry said he was alerted about the cats by a potential buyer of the foreclosed home who heard cat sounds coming from the inside of the house during a visit.

Officers received a warrant and went into the home Thursday, locating the dead cats inside kennels. Fortenberry said they'd likely been dead about two or three months.

Four other cats were found alive. Officers were able to catch two but two escaped.

Case Updates

It's a tragic animal hoarding situation that's left city officials wondering what to do with the home where more than a dozen dead cats were found.

Karen Crooke owns the home on Sandelwood Trail in Beaumont where the animals were discovered.

Animal services recovered 16 dead cats and two that were living. They believe more could have gotten loose when they were catching them.

While Crooke turned herself into police last night, there's no warrant yet for her arrest.

Animal services is still waiting to hear from Crooke before they decide what kind of charges to file in this case.

However, they do know Crooke was very involved in the cat community.

The woman is known for her involvement in Coastwind Cat Club, an organization that puts on cat shows. Crooke was an award winning cat shower herself, but now her cats have been seized.

"It just turns into a bad situation with a lot of cats like that," says Animal Services Officer Dustin Carraway.

A note hanging on Crooke's door notifying her of the cat seizure says officers came by her house three times to check on the animals. They could hear meowing, but no one was answering the door. On the third day, Wednesday, they went in and found the animals.

Now Public Health Department Director, Sherry Ulmer, says she too is waiting to hear from Crooke because the homes condition is considered a public health hazard.

"Obviously when somebody gets to this point, and the house gets this disorganized something is wrong. So my major concern is for her, and then coupled with that I have the public to protect," says Ulmer.

Crooke has an April 12 court date to decide what will be done with the cats that survived.

Jefferson County Tax Assessor Shane Howard says Crooke was several years behind on paying taxes on the home.

Before the animals were found, the county was planning to auction the home in May, but now they must wait on the health department to clean the home.
Source: - Apr 5, 2012
Update posted on Apr 6, 2012 - 2:17PM 


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