Friday, July 27, 2012

Neptune woman pleads guilty in death of 36 cats

NEW JERSEY -- A township woman pleaded guilty Thursday and was fined for the deaths of her 36 cats, authorities said.

Lorraine R. Smith, 66, of West Bangs Avenue in the township, had raised the 36 cats in her separate residence on Laraine Avenue in Bradley Beach, said Chief Victor “Buddy’’ Amato of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Amato said the smell at the borough residence was so bad that he had to wear a hazardous materials suit just to go inside when he was called to go there in late May. He said he found the 36 dead cats throughout the three levels of the residence.

As a part of her penalty, Smith is not allowed get any new animals for the next five years. However, she is allowed to keep the other 15 cats she already owns and keeps at her township residence because they are healthy, Amato said.

She also was fined more than $5,000 and has spent $50,000 to clean the residence, Amato said.

The Asbury Park Press asked Amato for a photo of the suspect, but he declined. State law allows authorities discretion in releasing suspect photos, but they often refuse to do so saying media publicity could affect their ability to select a jury.

(Asbury Press - July 26, 2012)