Petal woman faces charges for poor treatment of dozens of cats

Published 11:01 pm Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Petal woman faces animal cruelty charges after authorities recently removed dozen of cats housed in “horrific” conditions.

The cats were housed by Brenda Clark, 54, in an old furniture store on Mississippi 42 that had stood vacant for some time before it was sold in December, Petal Police chief Lee Shelbourn said.

After complaints to the city about the “horrific smell,” Mayor Carl Scott sent animal welfare and building code enforcement inspectors to investigate.

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Shelbourn said they found the half-eaten bodies of cats consumed by other cats who had been deprived of food and water while forced to live in their own feces.

“I don’t know how all these cats got up in there, but it was real bad,” Shelbourn said. “I got to the front door and had to turn and go back because the odor was so bad.”

He said city animal warden James Knight donned protective gear to enter the building. Dozens of animals were removed.

Clark was charged with 16 animal cruelty and code violation misdemeanors March 19 and 20. Charges included failure to provide sustenance, animal cruelty, unsanitary living conditions and failure to provide veterinary care

Each charge carries maximum penalties of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Clark’s trial is set for May 1.

Shelbourn said site cleanup is almost complete.

“The new owner is cleaning the building up,” he said. “I think we’re on the road to recovery.”