Woman with more than 50 cats charged with animal cruelty

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She also had 23 mice, three ferrets and two dogs.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune staff reports

SARASOTA COUNTY — Deputies impounded 55 cats, 23 mice, three ferrets and two dogs and charged a woman with animal cruelty Monday, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reports. 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies first responded April 9 to a home in the 400 block of Granada Drive after a complaint that animals were being neglected there. A cat was found in poor condition, emaciated and matted with urine and feces. The resident, Shirley Ann Duncan, 55, said the cat, Furby, was suffering from an illness but could not provide proof of veterinary care. Duncan relinquished custody and Furby was taken to an animal hospital for treatment, but due to its suffering it was euthanized. 

Duncan could not say how many cats she owned and guessed she had 48 to 50 inside her home, along with two dogs, three ferrets and several pet mice. 

On Monday, deputies returned to the home, impounded all the remaining animals and arrested Duncan on a charge of felony animal cruelty and a misdemeanor charge of abandonment. 

Duncan was released from jail Tuesday on $2,000 bail. All of the animals are in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office as the investigation continues.

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