Police arrested Kathryn St. Clare on April 17 in Warrenton, Oregon, after reportedly finding 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.
Police charged St. Clare with more than 24 counts of animal neglect and booked her into the local jail.
After her Oregon case concludes, St. Clare will likely be extradited to Snohomish County, Washington, where she has outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court in April 2016.
St. Clare was convicted on charges of animal cruelty in 2016 in Snohomish County after animal control officers raided her trailer and found 111 cats in various stages of dehydration and malnutrition inside.
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 program intended to spare mentally ill people court time.
"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 his client was homeless and that the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office refused her access to the TAP program because she couldn’t pay the more than $18,000 debt the county charged her 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 he did not know if St. Clare was going to admit her guilt, and it was important that the court order St. Clare 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 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."