May 24, 2012: Wittmann woman in 2010 animal hoarding case arrested; more cats found
by Jane Lednovich
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.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio issued a statement Wednesday saying that during his 50 years in law enforcement, he has never seen or heard anything so bizarre or disgraceful as eating cats.
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.
Gary Patronek, who founded a research consortium in Boston to study animal hoarders, previously told The Republic that hoarding can be a coping mechanism..." More & video
July 14, 2010: Animal Hoarding: Ariz. Woman Found Living With 104 Cat
An 80-year-old Arizona woman has been found living with 104 mostly dead or dying cats.
Maricopa County sheriff's officials say the bodies of 10 cats were found in the freezer and other cats were found diseased or dying inside Lucienne Touboul's home in Wittman, about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Sheriff's spokesman Jeff Sprong says Touboul was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation because the cats had a disease that can be passed to humans.
He says Touboul also will undergo a mental evaluation and could face charges for felony animal cruelty and threatening to kill deputies if they touched the cats..." More