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Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006County: Onondaga
Case Images: 1 files available
Alleged: Shirley M Thompson
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
SPCA animal cruelty investigators say they first knew there was something wrong when a bank that was foreclosing on the house on Masters Road and evicting those living there said a number of cats lived at the house. They realized the gravity of the situation when Shirley Thompson called them January 17, 2006 to say she had more than 200 cats and had kept them in her house for more than 10 years.
"The conditions inside were horrible. Poor conditions. She was charged with numerous counts of animal cruelty," said Paul Morgan, Cruelty Investigator. A DeWitt woman is charged with more than 120 counts of animal cruelty after investigators found more than 120 cats in her house. Those charges include improper confinement of an animal and improper veterinary care. News 10 Now's Megan Driscoll tells us about what investigators say is the most cats they've ever seen in one house.
People who live in the area say it is a very close-knit, friendly community. They say they had no idea their neighbor was keeping that many cats in her house. "Never saw a cat. I am amazed there were that many cats in there," said Greg Horan, Dewitt. Investigators worked all day to remove 120 of the cats and say there were at least 20 more up in attic they couldn't get to. They say some of the cats are in poor health and with this many cats living together, they are fearful of communicable diseases like Feline Leukemia. "If one of them does have it, it is possible that others do. So it is very contagious. They are being tested for that as we speak," said Paul Morgan, Cruelty Investigator. A veterinarian is evaluating all the cats. When a case like this arises, it brings to light questions of a very serious disease called animal hording. It's when people collect large numbers of animals in a need to control them and overlooking the needs of the animals involved. Morgan, "They see animals outside that are strays and so forth and they feel that they can help them. I also think it is going back to their mental state, in regards to they are lonely." Investigators say this case is ongoing and more charges can be expected. Thompson is due in court February 8, 2006.
The SPCA is looking for monetary donations to help deal with housing and feeding all of these cats.
|Shirley Thompson appeared in court Wednesday night, on 154 counts of animal cruelty. Back in January, hundreds of cats were found living in unsanitary conditions in her home. Thompson faces so many charges that the judge gave her two court appointed attorneys.|
But the judge was not happy to learn the woman actually makes enough money to afford her own. The judge says Thompson is not playing fair and she's wasting time in this case. Thompson now has less than a month to get her own attorney or she'll be forced to represent herself. Thompson is due back in court May 17th, which is when the judge will set a trial date. If found guilty, Thompson could spend up to a year in prision.
|Source: WTVH - April 26, 2006|
Update posted on Apr 26, 2006 - 10:42PM
|Shirley Thompson was in DeWitt Town Court on the night of Feb 8, 2006. Thompson entered a plea of not guilty to 153 charges of animal cruelty. She was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court March 8th. Thompson had to move out of her house back in January, forcing her to leave the cats behind. Animal rescue workers say many of the cats were sick and malnourished. The SPCA had to put most of them down.|
|Source: NBC Channel 3 - Feb 10, 2006|
Update posted on Feb 10, 2006 - 12:01PM
|The cats' owner, Shirley M. Thompson, 54, contacted the SPCA over the weekend to request officials take her pets. Bank officials had foreclosed on her house at 102 Masters Road, and the place she was moving to does not allow animals, said Paul Morgan, SPCA cruelty investigator. |
Thompson was charged January 17, 2006 with multiple counts of improper confinement of an animal, but the exact number of misdemeanors won't be known until officials figure out how many cats she had. The total was unclear Tuesday, but Richards estimated it would be about 225.
In a separate case, Thompson was charged late in 2005 with petit larceny, accusing her of stealing cat food, Morgan said. SPCA officials spent most of the first day loading more than 200 cats into crates and removing them from Thompson's home. "She said she'd spent years collecting strays from the neighborhood and was just trying to do the right thing," Morgan said. "This has been going on for so long, and she doesn't realize how overwhelming it's become." The stench was so overpowering at the one-story white ranch house that officials loading the cats had to keep coming outside to breathe fresh air. "There was very little food or water there and the five litter boxes were just overflowing," Morgan said. "We brought food in, and they were just going nuts." Thompson, who told officials she is an unemployed nurse, helped load the carrying crates. She would not speak with reporters.
"I'm just shocked," said Kevin Curry, who has lived on the one-block street near Le Moyne College for nearly 15 years. "This is a close-knit neighborhood, and no one knew this was going on." Richards said the cats that are not euthanized won't be available for adoption for weeks. It will be a tight fit at the SPCA until then. The facility on East Molloy Road in Mattydale has space for about 100 cats and currently has that many waiting for adoption.
|Source: The Post Standard - January 18, 2006|
Update posted on Jan 19, 2006 - 4:06AM
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