Pamela Arrington and Garriott Cox are a couple whose behaviour has been extensively reported online in news outlets. They’ve been charged with animal cruelty. The authorities found 74 dead cats and 150 live cats and other animals in a (their?) home in Middle River, Baldwin, Maryland, USA. Many of the cats were taken to the county shelter in Baldwin which, understandably, put the facilities under pressure. Animal services say that they are holding 19 cats until a decision has been made on whether they can be returned to Arrington and Cox.
Therefore, animal services are considering returning 19 cats to this couple who have been charged with animal cruelty. To someone like me, this begs the obvious question as to whether on ethical grounds animal services should even consider returning some cats to this couple.
However, perhaps the answer to the issue is to wait until their trial has been completed to see whether they are convicted or acquitted. If acquitted then there may be good reason to return the 19 cats on hold.
However, if that’s the case, and that is the logical way to proceed in my opinion, Arrington and Cox have filed their claim against the county prematurely. There’s no point in them asking for a court order that their cats are returned before it has been decided whether they are guilty or not. If they are found guilty it would be mad to return some of their cats too them even if the rescue services are full-up.
Normally, in these situations, the evidence is very clear cut because the cats are rescued and removed from a house which is in a poor condition and where there are many cats who been neglected. It is more or less cut and dried and therefore to be charged is almost as good as being convicted. The evidence is usually that strong.
On that basis, if I was in charge of animal control I would tell the couple right away that there is no chance of them getting their cats back even at the outset and even before the criminal trial has been brought to a conclusion.