The judge said he was reluctant to send an octogenarian to jail.
But Howard County Circuit Judge J. Thomas Nissel did just that yesterday, sentencing 81-year-old Ayten Icgoren to six months behind bars for mistreating dozens of cats in the Columbia townhouse where she lived with her daughter.
"If it had been a younger person, I would have given you a much longer sentence," said Nissel, who suspended consecutive 90-day terms on all but the first two charges.
Icgoren, of the 7300 block of Swan Point Way, also will serve 18 months of probation after she is released from the county's detention center.
After her conviction in September on 21 counts of animal cruelty and neglect, Icgoren violated the terms of her presentencing release by continuing to own and mistreat a cat, prosecutors said. Icgoren claimed the cat belonged to her daughter, Nece, who is awaiting trial in April on more than 150 similar charges.
"You seem to defy authority," Nissel told the elder Icgoren during yesterday's hearing. "Quite frankly, society reaches limits."
In August 2006, authorities found more than 50 live cats and some dead ones during a raid on the home. Neighbors had complained to county authorities that Icgoren's home had an unbearable smell and that the bugs in her home were causing an infestation in adjacent townhouses
Assistant State's Attorney Devora Pontell had requested an 18-month prison term.