Two Baltimore County residents were indicted on 63 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, animal cruelty, and failure to provide food, drink and care after authorities found 74 dead cats and rescued 150 live cats and other animals from a home in Middle River.
Garriott J. Cox, 53, and Pamela Arrington, 51, both of the 10000 block of Bird River Road in Middle River, were indicted Nov. 4, and were held in jail briefly beginning Monday. Cox was released Tuesday, and Arrington was released Thursday. Both posted $50,000 bail.
Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said officials recovered 76 live cats and 15 dead cats from a shed and detached garage in an Oct. 9 search.
Additional animals were recovered Oct. 17, after police obtained a second search warrant for the home on the property.
“While they were executing the search warrant on the outbuildings, detectives started to see cats in the window of the house. And every time they looked up, it was a different cat they would see,” Peach said. “They did more investigation to build more probable cause to get a search warrant for the house.”
After “several hours” in the home, officials recovered 74 live cats, 59 dead cats, one live bird and two live dogs that had been kept in cages in the master bedroom, according to charging documents. An unidentified dead animal also was recovered.
Some of the rescued cats have died since they were removed from the location in Middle River, but Peach was not sure how many.
A detective’s report, provided by Baltimore County Police, said officials found crates in a garage stacked two high, with many crates holding two to five cats each.
A veterinarian who responded to the scene said many of the cats had symptoms that indicated leukemia, conjunctivitis, upper respiratory infection or other infections, according to the report. An animal services officer, who saw many cats thrashing and jumping around inside the cages, said that behavior was consistent with animals experiencing starvation.
In a shed on the property, the detective wrote officials found coolers filled with cats in “varying states of decomposition." The detective wrote the coolers had a foul smell, and were covered with flies, gnats and maggots.
During the second search Oct. 17, officials entered the home to find it covered with animal feces and urine, according to the report. The detective wrote the kitchen was “abysmal at best,” with debris, animal feces and loose cats running around, along with dirty dishes in the sink and cobwebs on the wall.
In the living room, officials observed the carpet had been removed from the home, and the wooden subfloor had become stained with animal feces and urine.
Multiple times in the report, detectives and other responding officials describe feeling sick or having trouble speaking because of intense chemical odors from the home, garage and shed.
Arrington and Cox operated a trap, neuter, vaccinate and release program, which is a form of population control and helps reduce the number of feral cats, outside of their home, according to police records. The organization, called “Colony Cats of Bird River and Beyond” is registered with the IRS as charitable organization, but did not have a Holding Facility License through Baltimore County, for holding a large number of animals.