Mary A. Quinn has been ordered to not house any animals in her home after she made her first appearance Wednesday in court on a felony charge of abusing more than 10 animals.
More than following a complaint regarding a cat being stuck at the top of the garage door, which lead to the discovery of what police and animal rescuers have called "cat hoarding."
A single felony count carrying a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison was approved by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office just a couple weeks ago. The cats were removed in early August.
Woods Judge Ted Metry arraigned Quinn Wednesday, ordered a $5,000 personal bond in the case and ordered as a condition of her release that she not house any animals whatsoever in her home.
The cats were removed from the home by the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, whose founder and director Sarah Vicary, is now housing most of them on her own rural property in mid-Michigan.
A catch-pole had to be used to remove the cats because of their lack of interaction with humans, the hot conditions within the home and unventilated garage as well as the stress of being captured.
Vicary said her organization is a no-kill rescue only receives calls for such situations two or three times a year. In two other similar cases, one involved more cats but, she said in a recent interview with Patch, the cats from Oxford Road were in far worse condition.
None of the cats had received any medical care. They all had "extreme flea infestation" leading to "severe anemia" and intestinal parasite issues, Vicary said. The cats had not been spayed or neutered and were not kept separately from each other--meaning there was breeding amongst the group.
Vicary said the interbreeding and stress of the capture led to two females delivering kittens the same day. Both litters died as one female cat delivered prematurely and the other was at full term but the kittens failed to thrive.
Of those kittens that did survive, Vicary believes most will be able to be tamed and adopted. Volunteers from her organization have been working to socialize the kittens and warm them up to humans.
There were two to three cats among the adults who were social immediately and potentially another two to three that seem as if they will make an adjustment to being more social, Vicary said.
There are about 50 cats living in Vicary's barn who are likely to live out their lives there, she said, explaining she housed them in a closed space first and had plans to slowly introduce them to grass, trees, the breeze and such. Most of the cats were born in captivity of Quinn's home and have never experienced such environments, which is why slow introduction is necessary, she said.
"It's quite sad," Vicary said. "They lived in squalor."
Quinn allowed the cats to roam the neighborhood before being cited for an animal violation in 2007, Vicary said, but she stopped after getting in trouble--meaning many of the cats were born since then and not allowed out of the house.
While living in the barn, Vicary had the cats treated medically and planned a day in which volunteers were to help with a spay/neuter procedure for all of the cats at her home. Having a big day with many volunteers was easier than attempting to transport feral cats who only become more aggressive when caged because they are trapped, she said.
The objective in prosecuting Quinn, Vicary said, is to get her some help. In such a case, she said, mental health is of great concern. The prosecutor's office is able monitor Quinn for only so long based on the criminal charge, Vicary said, noting she hopes due to the "magical outcome" in this particular situation that Quinn will return to them for the remainder of her life when she is encountering a pet.
"Anywhere else and they would have been euthanized," Vicary said of the cats. "We found a location to allow them to live out their lives."
The non-profit volunteer organization sent 10 volunteers to Quinn's house to help with the initial part of the rescue. Vicary said she had to do much of the rescue using the catch pole.
The organization posted a photo gallery from the rescue demonstrating the conditions that cats were living in as well as the number of volunteers involved. The rescue gained a lot of attention from the organization's Facebook fans.
Quinn is scheduled to return to court Sept. 26 for a preliminary exam.