The western Pennsylvania woman who took in thousands of stray and feral cats with the promise of a good home, but failed to provide them adequat food, water, clean housing or vet care, is scheduled to be sentenced today in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.
Nearly two years ago a raid on Tiger Ranch, a cat "sanctuary" north of Pittsburgh, revealed hundreds of sick and dying cats and hundreds more stashed in freezers or buried in pits. Now its former operator, Linda Bruno, aka Lin Marie, will likely face jail time for her actions.
Bruno's bail was revoked and her plea deal dissolved in October after she violated terms of the bail. She was sent to jail when investigators learned she had in fact defied court order not to acquire more cats, when they found some of her volunteers trying to destroy cat food bags.
On Nov. 30 she was ordered by the court to receive weekly psychological counseling prior to sentencing. A spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office said prosecutors are seeking a prison term.
Here's what the Pennsylvania SPCA reported its agents and more than 100 other law enforcement personnel and volunteers found during the March 13 raid:
PSPCA officials found hundreds of cats living in squalor in multiple buildings, suffering from numerous serious illnesses and disease, including ESCHERICHIA COLI, STAPHYLOCOCCUS, PROTEUS MIRABILUS, FELINE CALICIVIRUS, HERPES VIRUS, BORDETELLA, MYCOPLASMA FELIS and CHLAMYDOPHILAFELIS. The cats’ symptoms included upper respiratory conditions, severe muscle wasting, abscesses, dehydration, malnutrition, purulent oral ulcers, eyes completely occluded with dried mucus and other conditions that required immediate medical intervention. Some cats had oral ulcers that prevented them from eating and a discharge from the eyes that was left unchecked and resulted in loss of vision and then the eyes themselves. Hundreds more cats were found dead in deep freezers and burial pits located on the Tiger Ranch property. Cats were fighting over one food dish and water bowl, dead cats were found in litter boxes and extremely ill and dying cats were living with seemingly healthier cats.
Many cats had died before PSPCA and ASPCA officials reached the scene; others were so sick that they had to be humanely euthanized immediately. Four-hundred-and-six cats were transported to the Clarion County Humane Society, a PSPCA branch that was re-opened specifically to care for the cats removed from Tiger Ranch.
On a happier note, the PSPCA - which removed nearly 400 cats from the 28-acre property, and spent hundreds of thousands caring for them - announced earlier this week that all of the surviving cats (180) had found homes or were placed with rescue groups for adoption.