Police in Illinois have arrested a 71-year-old woman for allegedly killing her grandchildren’s cats with a hammer.
Investigators from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office arrested Josephine E. Bell, of Godfrey, Monday night on animal cruelty charges, KSDK News reports.
Bell’s 13-year-old granddaughter discovered the body of the family cat in a freezer on Monday evening, according to KTVI News. The girl reportedly sent a text message about the discovery to a family member who subsequently called police.
Madison County authorities said they questioned both the girl and Bell about what happened to the cat, and Bell reportedly said she killed the cat, and its four kittens, with a hammer on Sunday because her grandchildren wouldn’t clean their bedrooms.
The woman is said to have told investigators she had previously warned the children that losing the pets would be a consequence of failing to straighten their rooms.
She reportedly admitted to killing the cats on Sunday and throwing the kittens in the garbage. Investigators were not able to locate the remains of the four kittens.
Bell has since been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and could face one to three years in prison.
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Dixon told KTVI that was unlikely though.
“Without a substantial criminal history, she likely could be looking at probation and fines for this case,” he said. “But hopefully it brings about a change in demeanor, and this kind of behavior doesn’t happen again for the benefit of these children, is what ultimately I think most of us would hope for.”
KTVI also reported Animal Control workers had just removed a dog from Bell’s home a week before the cats were killed. Investigators said the workers had offered to take the other animals at that time, but the family declined the offer.
Bell was last reported to still be in custody at the Madison County jail, pending a formal review of facts by the Madison County State Attorney's Office. She is being held on $15,000 bond.
Photo Credit: KSDK News courtesy of Madison County Sheriff’s Office