Woman accused of cruelty to cats being sought
TRUCKEE (AP) – Investigators were searching for a Truckee woman accused of killing 30 cats and keeping a similar amount in unlivable conditions at her Tahoe Donner condominium.
Caroleen C. Potter was charged Wednesday with cruel and inhumane deaths of her cats and keeping them in unsanitary conditions when they were alive.
”There is a warrant outstanding for her arrest,” said Fred Holmes, Nevada County deputy district attorney. ”We don’t know where she is at the moment. As far as we know, she is essentially homeless.”
In addition to the felony charges, Potter was charged with misdemeanor use of carbon monoxide gas and keeping her condominium in an unsanitary condition.
If convicted on all counts, Potter could face a maximum penalty of four years in prison and fines up to $42,000, Holmes said.
Truckee housing authorities declared her two-bedroom home uninhabitable last week, following an investigation by animal control officers. Potter could not be found after that, officials said.
Officers discovered the dead cats when they went to the condominium to check on reports of a strong odor.
”One bedroom was sealed off with a tarp and there was a barbecue smoldering in the middle of the room,” said animal control supervisor Dan Olsen. ”It appears that she was trying to kill them with carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Fifteen cats died from the fumes, Olsen said. The carcasses of 15 more cats and a ferret were found under piles of clothes and behind furniture.
Animal control officials seized 35 live cats, but so far 10 have been euthanized because of disease or poor health, authorities said.
A day before the discovery, officers told Potter that she would have to give up most of the animals to comply with California law that allows only four cats per household. Potter reportedly agreed, but said she wanted a chance to say farewell to the felines before they were taken away.
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