Sunday, October 18, 2009

City mum on fate of animals seized from accused hoarder

CATS AND MORE: Now they're evidence, says muni attorney.

City officials aren't discussing what will become of more than 80 animals found last week at a shelter and home owned by a woman accused of animal cruelty, saying they don't want to compromise the case.

Anchorage Police and Animal Care and Control officials referred all questions Wednesday to the city attorney's office. Deputy Municipal Attorney Rhonda Westover said she would not reveal the status of the cats.

"The cats were seized pursuant to a search warrant and that makes them evidence in the case," Westover said. "We appreciate that citizens of Anchorage are interested in the status of the animals and they're being very generous by offering to adopt them; however, until we complete the investigation and go through the court process we really can't talk about anything specific without risking prejudice and the opportunity for a fair trial."

The woman accused of hoarding cats, Deborah Ann Allen, 54, disputes the allegations. She said in a phone call Wednesday that her attorney told her not to comment on the specifics of the case but that the conditions described in a police affidavit did not accurately portray the facts.

"I'm telling you that it's not the way it appears. There's a lot of history here, an awful lot of history here," Allen said...

...Police and animal control officers seized 32 animals -- mostly cats, but also some dogs and a bird -- from her Sand Lake home, according to a police affidavit filed in court. Many of the animals were ill and unkempt, the affidavit says.

A later search of Chateau Pampered Purr turned up at least 50 more animals living in similar conditions, according to the affidavit. By that time, Animal Control was inundated by the animals from Allen's home and had nowhere to put them. The cats and lizards were left at Allen's shelter, with police saying they hoped she would care for them until they could be removed..." More