Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19658
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

County: Maricopa

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Lucienne Touboul

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

An 81-year-old Wittmann woman again faces trouble for animal hoarding.

Lucienne Touboul was arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of 26 counts of animal neglect and cruelty after it was discovered she was hoarding 64 cats, a Maricopa Country Sheriff's Office spokesman said.

The arrest comes nearly two years after authorities found Touboul with more than 104 cats in her home. Most of those cats had to be euthanized as authorities said they carried a feline virus.

Three years before that, a judge had ordered Touboul to give up all but a handful of cats.

This go-around, deputies searched Touboul's home on the 21800 block of Griffin Avenue and found 64 cats, Sgt. Brandon Jones said.

The cats were evaluated by a veterinarian and are being transferred to the Sheriff's Office Animal Safe House in the old First Avenue Jail, police said.

Deputies went to the home about 6 a.m. because Touboul had an outstanding warrant related to the incident two years ago.

In the 2010 case, the cats showed signs of severe respiratory disease, were severely underweight, and had ruptured eyes due to ulcers, Jones said. Nine dead cats were found in freezers. There was evidence that some of the cats were used for human consumption, he said.

Jones said Touboul admitted to police at the time that she would use the dead cats to make soup.

In statement released the media, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, "I was briefed on this case this morning and found myself thinking that in 50 years of law enforcement, I've never heard of a case quite like this where an animal lover presumably turns her much loved pets into stew."

Touboul in 2010 had told The Republic that she froze the deceased cats until a friend visited to help her properly bury them.

After the 2010 case, the Sheriff's Office notified Code Enforcement, Maricopa County Environmental Services, and Adult Protective Services, but Touboul refused help.

Jones said Touboul fits the profile of an animal hoarder.

She had been banned from owning pets after 70 cats were discovered in her home in 2007.
Gary Patronek, who founded a research consortium in Boston to study animal hoarders, previously told The Republic that hoarding can be a coping mechanism.

He said animal hoarders often lack the insight to see what others do. They don't see the filth, dead animals and unlivable conditions obvious to everyone else.

Touboul previously told The Republic she was born in North Africa and that her husband and five sons were beheaded in Morocco years ago.

Her claim is unconfirmed, although Morocco underwent a violent nationalist movement in the 1970s.

Touboul moved from France and eventually to Arizona, where she worked as a nurse. She's lived in her Wittmann home for 13 years.

Touboul is in custody in the Fourth Avenue Jail.

She had been banned from owning pets after 70 cats were discovered in her home in 2007.

Case Updates

An Arizona woman taken into custody Wednesday on animal cruelty charges has been released from jail and is speaking out about her arrest.

It is the second time Lucienne Touboul has been charged with animal cruelty for hoarding cats, but Touboul said it's the Sheriff's Office that's being cruel by putting her beloved cats to sleep.

"I love my animals and I want my animals back," demanded Touboul.

The first animal cruelty arrest happened in 2010, when deputies discovered 104 cats, including 10 being kept in the freezer, at Touboul's Wittman home.

"I don't eat the cats. Don't believe the police, the police lied," said a defensive Touboul.

Touboul admits to keeping cats in the freezer, but says she puts them there to preserve them until a helper can come to bury them in the yard.

"I don't like to put my animals in the trash. I bury them in the yard and then I pray for them," she said.

Touboul showed us pictures of her cats, and tried to explain why she keeps so many of them.

"Because nobody wants them. It's OK for me, I don't care, I am myself. If I have so many, I take care of all of them. Why would I put to sleep this one and not this one? Why?"

"I know that she tries and does the best that she can to take care of the cats," said Joel, Touboul's friend, who admits he doesn't like cats.

Joel feels the allegations of Touboul eating her cats in stew may have been misunderstood, as she often purchases "cat fish" for soup.

"So I'm thinking somewhere in there there's a translation problem as far as her eating cat soup," said Joel.

Touboul is hoping by telling her side of the story, she may be able to keep animals at her home again.

Under the condition of her 2010 arrest, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered that Touboul could no longer own animals. An order she violated.

Touboul faces 26 counts of animal neglect and cruelty.
Source: ABC 15
Update posted on May 25, 2012 - 6:07PM 


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