Police: Chronic Hoarder Arrested With 42 Cats In Vehicle

| by Michael Allen

Kathryn St. Clare was arrested on April 17 in Warrenton, Oregon, after police reportedly found 42 cats, one of them dead, in her car.

According to the police officer who made the arrest, St. Clare's vehicle smelled of cat urine and feces, notes Herald Net.

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St. Clare was arrested, charged with more than 24 counts of animal neglect, and booked into the Clatsop County Jail.

After her Oregon case is concluded, St. Clare will likely be extradited to Snohomish County, Washington, where she has outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court on April 2016.

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St. Clare was convicted in 2016 in Snohomish County for animal cruelty when she was found to have 111 cats in her travel trailer.

On Feb. 2, 2016, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Bowden questioned why St. Clare was in criminal court instead of the county-funded Therapeutic Alternatives to Prosecution (TAP) program that is supposed to spare mentally ill people court time, noted Herald Net.

"None of that makes sense," Bowden stated.

"I can’t see any sense in warehousing you," Bowden told St. Clare at the time. Bowden noted it would cost the county $2,500 to jail her for just one month.

St. Clare's public defender, Robert O’Neal, said that she was homeless, and was refused access to the TAP program by the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office because she couldn’t pay the $18,000+ debt that she was charged by the county for her case.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said people (who may be mentally ill) have to agree that they are guilty, and pay the restitution costs to get into the TAP program.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Michael Boska told Bowden they did not know if St. Clare was going to admit her guilt, and it was important that St. Clare be ordered by the court to keep away from cats (which ultimately failed, if the Oregon charges are correct).

"You can’t ask a mentally ill person to snap their fingers and be better," O’Neal insisted. "She was still coming to grips with her disorder, but we were getting there."

The county asserted that it could not waive St. Clare's massive debt that came from paying an animal shelter to impound and kill the cats, a veterinarian to examine the cats and a tow truck to impound the travel trailer. The debt also included $3,300 to reimburse officers, who are paid by taxes, to investigate the case.

"Sometimes dealing with mentally illness and poverty costs the county money,” O’Neal stated.

He noted that it would be difficult for the homeless woman to pay all that she owed to the county with her felony convictions.

St. Clare used to work as a software tester, but was laid off in 2009. After failing to find a job, she became homeless. According to a psychologist, there were other incidents that led St. Clare to hoard cats and caused her to distort reality.

The psychologist wrote: "What is known is that this [animal hoarding] behavior, absent any mental health intervention, has nearly a 100 percent recidivism rate."

Sources: Herald Net (2) / Photo Credit: Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

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