By Amy Moore
The former owner of a foreclosed home where 20 cats were found dead Wednesday could face animal cruelty charges, authorities said Thursday.
Karen Crooke, the former president of and publicist for the Coastwind Cat Club - which sponsors an annual cat show in Beaumont - is listed as the owner of the home on Sandelwood Trail where officers found about 20 dead cats in filthy kennels. Four cats were found alive in the home, which was littered with trash, empty cat food cans and feces.
Two of the cats escaped as authorities and members of the city's HazMat team entered the home Wednesday afternoon.
Matthew Fortenberry of Beaumont Animal Services said a woman left her name and contact information at the police department about the cats Thursday, but he has not been able to get in touch with her to set up a meeting. Although Fortenberry was not sure of her identity, The Enterprise found her name in county records associated with the house.
"We have to speak with the owner to see if something is wrong ... or if it was intentional that she left them there in that condition," Fortenberry said.
What, if any, charges will be filed against Crooke will be determined by her answers, he added..." More