Categories: Animal Cruelty

21 cats starved to death in carriers in a wood. Felony charges of animal cruelty dropped for lack of evidence

You may remember the woman who allegedly dumped 21 cats in carriers in a would and left them there to starve a death. It was ‘cat murder’ of the most heinous kind. When they were found by Janice Lawniczak (Butler County humane officer) they had been reduced to skeletal remains. They died of agonising starvation, in fear and terror locked in cages. I wrote about it in haste last June.

This picture below shows where and how 19 companion animals – 18 cats and 1 dog (believed) – were abandoned inside carriers where they starved to death. Note: this is a different number of animals in the title but the number is unclear.

The woman who allegedly did this has been named as Tamara Rusz of Mars, PA. She was facing up to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty in the Butler County Court as I understand it.

On July 12th, Robert Zanella of the Butler County District Attorney’s office of Richard Goldinger contacted Lawniczak to tell her that he had withdrawn the charges because of a lack of evidence.

He asked her to provide more evidence. She was not told that charges would be refiled. I believe that she is going to write to the District Attorney to see exactly why the felony charges could not be filed. I presume that she is looking for more information as to the weakness in the evidence so that she can try and rectify the problem.

It is terrible news for animal advocates like myself. It means that the chance of justice in this case could be very slim indeed because as far as I know Lawniczak has provided all the evidence that she has. I don’t have any more details as to the weakness in the case or what Janice plans to do.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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