A Florida pet rescuer was sentenced to a year in prison for starving cats to death.
In South Florida, a self-proclaimed pet rescuer was punished for hoarding cats and allowing some of them to starve to death within her apartment.
According to the Associated Press, Cheryn Smilen, 56, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 364 days in prison. Smilen will no longer be allowed to rescue or possess animals.
During a Monday hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alberto Milian told her, “You have to keep away from animal-rescue organizations.”
Smilen began feeding street cats and began to collect them in a small efficiency flat. Neighbors reported hearing the cats scratching and wailing at the windows on a regular basis. After a terrible odor began to emanate from the residence three years ago, police were sent to investigate.
In 2018, police detective Judy Webb testified that she witnessed “dead cats on top of dead cats.”
Inside the flat, they discovered starving cats and bones, implying that some cats had devoured each other.
“These animals had been dead for months, not weeks, when they were discovered. They were all in various stages of disintegration. “There’s no way she didn’t know this was going on,” Webb said at a hearing in 2019, according to the New York Post.
Investigators discovered heaps of cat food cans and piles of food bags inside and outside the flat, but Smilen had not been feeding the famished animals. When authorities entered the house, they discovered it was covered with cat feces and reeked of cat urine. The air conditioning inside was functional but not switched on, putting the cats in a heated environment, according to the Miami Herald.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Helen Page Schwartz and Chief Assistant Kathleen Hoague.
“You were given a truly just sentence. According to The Herald, judge Milian told Smilen on Monday, “There is no reason to assume these animals didn’t suffer a significant deal.” Smilen, who was crying as he stood at the platform, replied, “I know they did.”
“It’s difficult for me to comprehend how individuals can be so cruel,” Milian remarked.
Officers investigating the unexpected death of a lady discovered a horrifying case of animal abuse when they discovered 53 cats and a dog inside a residence in May. Twelve of the animals were already dead inside the house, according to police.