Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 48-year-old Lakewood woman with four counts of animal cruelty after authorities found what they described as a sad menagerie inside her small house, where some animals lived in filth and others lay dead and rotting in their cages.
The woman’s relatives told investigators she has a history of mental health issues “that are not being adequately addressed.” They also said she would “fly into a rage” if anyone tried to intervene on the animals’ behalf or try to help them, court records show.
The case began in November when one of the woman’s relatives called authorities to report several animals being neglected, court records show. An animal control officer dispatched to the house in the 10000 block of 102nd Street Southwest found multiple animals “living in filthy cages, aquariums and crates, some without access to food and water, and also multiple deceased animals that had been left in their cages to rot,” deputy prosecutor Patrick Hammond wrote in a declaration for probable cause.
The live animals included a cockatiel, a gecko, a green parakeet, a brown rat, a black-and-white hamster, a brown rabbit and a Pomeranian-type dog. Many were confined to crates coated with feces and urine, Hammond wrote. Some had no access to food or water, court records show. Two crates inside the house contained the remains of unidentified dead animals. Animal control removed 14 animals from the home.
The deputy prosecutor wrote that the scene inside the garage was “perhaps even more horrific.”
The animal control officer found three crates that were wrapped in tarps and blankets, court records show. In one was a short-haired cat “scrabbling at the door to get out” of a crate filled with urine and feces, Hammond wrote. In another was the Pomeranian, whose coat was soaked with feces and urine, court records show. In the third was a deceased medium-sized dog which a veterinarian later had determined had been dead for some time, Hammond wrote. ” The animal control officer said “the stench of ammonia was so strong it made her eyes water,” court records show.
The woman has not been arrested but will be summoned to court to answer the charges.