PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — Update (10/7): A woman and her husband have been charged with animal cruelty after their home was discovered to have over 50 animals in deplorable conditions.
Donna Mullins and her husband have been charged with 50 counts of animal cruelty and 15 counts of improper disposal of animal remains. Police have told CBS 42 that the animal cruelty charges, which would typically be Class A misdemeanors in Alabama, would be considered felony charges.
No other information has been released at this time. Stay with CBS 42 as this is an ongoing story.
Original (10/7): A Pell City woman has been arrested after it was found that dozens of animals were inside her house, some of which were dead.
Donna Mullins, 51, was arrested Friday and charged with obstruction of governmental operations after officers were alerted that there were over 30 animals in poor health living in her house. Upon arrival, officers discovered 47 live cats and three dogs living in a small trailer.
“This home was covered in roaches and did not have water,” a press release from the Pell City Police Department stated. “There was feces covering the floors and it was difficult to breath.”
Officers found that many of the animals were malnourished and flea-infested while others were missing eyes and appeared abused.
“This was the worst scene where people were living that I have seen in my entire career in law enforcement or in the Marine Corp.,” Chief Paul Irwin of the Pell City Police Department said in a written statement. “I cannot believe someone would live in this mess, not even to imagine allowing their family to reside there as well.”
Chief Irwin said they also found a power cord extending from the home, into the backyard where a culvert was located. He said it looked like a makeshift home was set up in the pipe. “They don’t have utilities, they don’t have water running in the house, except for power. And they had the power going out to this drain, where there was a TV, refrigerator and a bed.”
CBS 42 spoke with neighbors, who said Donna Mullins was trying to help the stray cats, but quickly found herself overwhelmed.
“At the end of the day, she wasn’t doing nothing wrong, they wasn’t doing nothing wrong. She was doing what she thought God had her to do. She didn’t have the finances to do it, but she tried,” said Clifton Beavers, a neighbor of the Mullins. Beavers explained, the woman was trying to get the cats spayed and neutered.
Last week in Cherokee County, Ruth Paulene Staggs was arrested and charged with 47 counts of animal cruelty after dozens of animals were found living in her home. Like Mullins, police believe that Staggs had started her own animal shelter of sorts.
The city of Pell City is now working to formally condemn the home. Alabama state law states cruelty to a dog or cat is a class A misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $6,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year.
The rescued animals are now at the Pell City Animal Shelter. The chief said the shelter is full and is accepting donations of kitty litter and pet food.
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