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Appeals court upholds woman’s sentence for treatment of cats

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A Fort Wayne woman who kept more than 100 cats between two properties in deplorable conditions had her sentence for multiple counts of criminal mischief and animal cruelty upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges declined to revise her sentence because it was appropriate given her character and the nature of the offense.

Constance Anderson rented a property on Elmer Street in Fort Wayne that housed as many as 85 cats. She did not live there, but would visit the property occasionally to dump a bag of food on the ground. The home was covered in urine and feces and the animals even cannibalized their young. The air in the home tested in excess of four times the amount of ammonia typically found in normal air quality.

Animal control officers also found more than 20 live cats and 20 dead cats at the home where Anderson lived on St. Mary’s Avenue. All but five of the 108 live cats discovered between the two homes had to be euthanized. The conditions of the home led to the Elmer Street home becoming slated for demolition and required $13,000 of renovations to the St. Mary’s Avenue home.

Anderson pleaded guilty to two counts of Class D felony criminal mischief and five counts of Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty without a plea agreement. She received five one-year sentences on the misdemeanors to be served concurrently with three-year sentences on the felony charges.

In Constance Anderson v. State of Indiana, 02A03-1211-CR-495, Anderson argued the state should have considered her education and employment history, lack of criminal history, cooperation with investigators, her remorse and her mental state as mitigators. The appeals court pointed out the record shows the Allen County court considered each factor, but found none were significant. Her remorse was attributable to being caught rather than regret for her conduct.

Regarding her sentence, the judges noted her conduct “clearly exceeds the elements necessary under the charged offenses.” She caused significant damage to both homes and she knew the state of the animals because she left nearly 85 cats in the one house without adequate food and water and also didn’t properly care for the cats in her residence.

 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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