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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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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