Animal Rights

‘Crazy Cat Lady’ Charged With Drug Possession, 239 Cats Confiscated

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Philadelphia woman turned herself in to police on Tuesday and was charged with possession and conspiracy to possess ketamine, an anesthetic commonly used on animals.

A warrant was issued last month for Lanie Jacobson, a self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady,” after Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Officers removed 239 cats from her home.

A sign on the gate of the home reads "I'm the Crazy Cat Lady. And this is the crazy cat house."

Jacobson was running a licensed animal shelter in 2002, but the SPCA began investigating her earlier this year after a concerned citizen reported a large number of cats living in “unsanitary” conditions.

Ketamine is often locked up in veterinarian clinics because it is commonly stolen and illegally sold as a recreational drug, which causes feelings of euphoria, hallucinations and even dissociative states similar to schizophrenia symptoms.

It is uncommon for animal shelters to have ketamine, and it is unclear why Jacobson might have been in possession the Schedule 1 narcotic.

She turned over 30 cats during a previous visit from SPCA officials but became uncooperative as conditions in her home declined further.

"She declined to continue cooperating with us," said Sara Eremus of the SPCA. "It was a situation where we needed to just go in there and take them."

SPCA workers had to wear respirators while working in the home.

"I watched the cats being abused," Alicia Manfredi, who used to work in the shelter, told NBC Philadelphia.

Manfredia says she filed a complaint against Jacobson in 2011.

"Everything was neglected," Manfredi said. "Feces, urine, everywhere. It was just really awful, even for us to be working in."

The confiscated felines will be put up for adoption.

"PSPCA's ultimate goal here is to find the cats good homes once it obtains legal custody of them," officials stated in a press release.

Sources: New York Daily News, NBC Philadelphia