Categories: prosecutions

Judge refuses to lower potential sentence for woman on trial for starving 30 cats

Animal advocates will argue that it’s time to punish animal abusers properly and commensurate with the gravity their crimes. In this instance a supposed cat rescuer is accused of being a serial cat abuser of the most cruel kind. Her fake life was a veneer. On the face of it she was a cat rescuer but behind the scenes it is alleged that she had many cats held captive in a building without access to food and she refused to feed them. Neighbors say the cats were scratching at the windows and crying.

Cheryn Smilen, a former pet-rescue volunteer, attends a court hearing in Miami-Dade as she awaits trial on charges of animal cruelty. She is accused of starving 30 cats. DAVID OVALLE of MIAMI HERALD. This is a screenshot from a video.

I don’t want to think about it and I won’t. Let’s just say that Cheryn Smilen will be seen as a cruel, heartless woman if the allegations against her are proved in court at her trial. She is well known among South Florida’s cat rescue community. She fed street cats every night we are told. What happened? It is alleged that she became a cat hoarder of the worst kind.

Her ‘rescue cats’ were held in a Northeast Miami-Dade building described as an ‘efficiency’. The surviving cats were emaciated and very ill. Many of the cats had died of starvation. The scenes were horrific.

The accusations against this woman are so serious in terms of crimes against animals that the judge, having heard from animal advocates, decided that a motion by the defence to lower her possible prison sentence should be denied.

Smilen has yet to explain why she did not feed the cats. The food was there and available. It is horrible to think about it. If convicted she may be sentenced to at least 29 months in prison.

One of the cats rescued in February 2018 at the Northeast Miami-Dade home of Cheryn Smilen. Photo: MIAMI-DADE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

For me, and I am sure for many others, that is too short. I’d give her at least five years in prison and five years should mean five years, the full term.

Courts need to send out a signal to animal abusers in the making that they can’t regard the worst cases of animal abuse as a minor misdemeanour. These are genuine felonies, serious crimes and the punishment should be inline with that assessment.

Source: Miami Herald.

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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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