MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ) — Two Baltimore County residents facing multiple animal cruelty charges after more than 200 cats were taken from their Middle River home are suing to get the surviving cats back.
Garriott Cox and Pamela Arrington are facing multiple charges after investigators found 150 live cats and 74 dead cats in horrible conditions at their home on Bird River Road in Middle River last month.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 800 New Cases & 5 Deaths Reported Sunday
The two had been under investigation since September.
Baltimore County Animal Services had received complaints from the Maryland SPCA about the couple’s business, Colony Cats of Bird River and Beyond.
Pamela Arrington and Garriott Cox owned the trap, neuter, vaccinate and release business, which also listed adoption fees for cats they cared for.
The police report stated that Pamela Arrington would regularly bring cats to the Maryland SPCA to be checked and diagnosed by SPCA veterinarians, who sent a letter into BCAS with their concerns.
The letter described terrible conditions including cats and kittens with a “foul, indescribable odor,” adding that she sometimes had the odor on her as well.
“She has also brought us a few kittens who were in incredibly bad shape and refused our medical services and offer to have these sickly kittens admitted into our shelter program, stating she could offer better care of them,” the letter said.
BCAS said separate concerns had been brought to them about Arrington’s housing situation for the cats, stating “the odor from her home can be smelled from the street.”
They were concerned about how many cats/kittens she was actually housing on her property, saying they were concerned about a “potential hoarding situation,”
A case was opened after that initial complaint was made, and on September 24, officers went to 10322 Bird River Road for a re-check of the location.
The officers were met at the side entrance of the garage by Arrington, and the officer’s report details how they entered the garage and “were immediately met with very high levels of cat urine smell and ammonia,”
“My eyes and nose immediately started to burn and run and I had trouble speaking while in the garage,” Animal Services Officer Franczkowski’s report read.
The officer described the garage having only a small opening to provide ventilation with air purifiers, and the garage itself was lined with dog crates, a cat condo, traps and transfer cages, housing cats in each one- some with two to five cats in one cage.
The garage was filled with uncleaned cages and litter boxes, and some cats had either no water in their bowls or no bowls at all, they described.READ MORE: First African American To Lead The Maryland National Guard Was Honored After 38-Years Of Service
Arrington told officers there was one leukemia positive cat in a small garage, but the cat was not housed away from the other cages.
Although Colony Cats of Bird River and Beyond had been established as a non-profit organization, the owners had not applied for a Holding Facility License through Baltimore County, the police report noted.
A Holding Facility License is required to house the number of animals the organization had at its location.
Based on their findings, Animal Service Officers went to the home on Bird Road with a search and seizure warrant on October 9.
When they arrived they saw large piles of debris and trash, but what was inside was worse.
They saw cages stacked two stories high which each had anywhere from one to five cats, and most had more feces than kitty litter inside.
As the officials passed several cages, the cats inside thrashed around the cages and climbed up on the cage walls- something Animal Service Officer Franczkowski said meant the cats were experiencing starvation.
They determined there were 76 cats contained within the cages, and approximately half of them had conjunctivitis, infections, leukemia, ulcers and upper respiratory infections.
Through their search, they also found 15 dead cats, some in white styrofoam boxes that had been put on top of cages with live cats.
Days later, on October 17, they searched the home itself and found 74 live cats, 59 dead cats, two dogs and one bird. Some of the dead cats were found in the kitchen freezer.
Some of the cats were caged, while others roamed free in the home, the report said. Officers describe feces smeared across furniture, along with garbage
The bird, the police report noted, was in a clean cage with fresh paper in the bottom of the cage with food and water present.
“This is significant because it demonstrates that the owners of the animals, Cox and Arrington, have the ability and knowledge to care for animals correctly,” the police report read.
Monday, Baltimore County Police Cpl. Shawn Vinson said the two are suing police in an effort to have some of the animals returned.
“We might be in a situation again where we have to go in there again and rescue more animals if they are allowed to go back to them,” he said.
WJZ went to the home and spoke with a woman who identified herself as a relative. The woman said Cox and Arrington no longer live there.MORE NEWS: A Dad Who Traveled 1,200 Miles For Covid-19 Care Is Finally Going Home. Here's What He Wants You To Know
Both are out on bond.