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Man faces 49 cruelty counts in Martinsburg cat case

June 12, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was arrested Monday morning on 49 counts of animal cruelty after county officials entered the man's house at 89 Stuckey Court last Thursday and found 47 cats and the interior covered in cat feces.

Cpl. B.F. Hall of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said Anthony Patrick Sine, 35, agreed to turn himself in Monday after talking with Hall in recent days about the case.

Sine was released after posting $49,000 cash bond, said Berkeley County Magistrate Harry Snow.

Berkeley County Animal Control officers entered Sine's house near the Capitol Heights housing complex last Thursday after receiving complaints from neighbors about odors coming from the house.

Cat feces was between 3 inches and 6 inches deep in some parts of the house, and conditions were so extreme in the house that officials had to use special suits and air packs to enter it, police said.


Hall said Monday he did not know why Sine allowed the conditions to exist because Sine did not give a statement to police.

Animal rescue officials said they had never seen conditions for animals as bad as they were in Sine's home. Two kittens were lying in feces and were dead, one of the rescuers said.

"The floors and furniture inside of the residence were almost completely covered with animal feces and urine," Hall said in a criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

About 30 of the cats are being kept at the Berkeley County Animal Control office on South Queen Street and the rest are being cared for at the PIGS Animal Sanctuary near Shepherdstown, W.Va., and a shelter operated by the Promise Animal League in Kearneysville, W.Va., said Melissa Susko, director of the PIGS Animal Sanctuary.

Although Hall said he thought the cats would be held in shelters until the case is completed, Susko said she has learned that the animals might be released and available for adoption.

Susko said animal welfare officials were concerned about getting the cats neutered and spayed before they are adopted.

Although some of the cats had to be treated for complications like dehydration, they were in relatively good health considering what they experienced, Susko said.

Each of the animal cruelty charges against Sine carry a possible fine of $300 to $2,000, and not more than six months in jail or both, said court records.

Know more in 30 seconds

The issue: Rescue officers last week removed 47 cats and two dead kittens from a Martinsburg, W.Va., home, the interior of which was covered in cat feces.

What's new: The resident of the home was charged Monday with 49 counts of animal cruelty in the case.

What's next: The man posted bond, but each charge carries a possible fine of $300 to $2,000 and jail time. Most of the cats rescued from the home are in decent health and might be released soon for adoption.

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