PA|Homepage reports that a woman has been charged with animal cruelty in putting down rat poisoning which killed at least two cats. This was made a felony within the past year in Pennsylvania, USA. She lives in Taylor, Lackawanna County.
The reason why I am posting this is because I think it is unusual for a woman to allegedly deliberately poison cats. You get cases of woman hurting cats through neglect but that’s a different matter. Her name is Jennifer Oustrich. She is accused of killing the cats near a property that she owns.
We are told that a neighbour found several dead cats and poison pellets embedded piles of dog food.
Another neighbour, Brittany Hufford, said that the poison risked her cat and dog and her kids.
The accused said that she was trying to stop stray cats getting into her tenant’s garbage. It seems that she is a landlord for some rented properties and lives several blocks from the area where she allegedly put down the rat poison.
However, her excuse seems very poor. Well, to be honest, there is no excuse for this sort of behaviour. Putting down poison in food is highly irresponsible. If she is convicted, she could have called the SPCA or sought help from a number of other sources.
Making this sort of animal cruelty a felony is new to Pennsylvania. There may be some hiccups in this prosecution for that reason. In this instance, they may have difficulty establishing the intention (mens rea) which I expect the crime requires. This is why she has said her intention was not to kill cats.
Necropsies are being carried out on some of the deceased cats. Oustrich is on $50k bail and will return to court next month.
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