2016-05-04 / Front Page

Jackson Heights Woman Faces Two Years For Animal Abuse

By Liz Goff
A 48-year-old Jackson Heights woman is facing two years in prison for failing to care for 55 cats, 12 dogs and two turtles, who prosecutors said were living in “deplorable conditions” inside her 82nd Street home.

Elizabeth Grant was arraigned on April 26 on four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, 68 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide sustenance, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Prosecutors said a Crime Prevention officer at a local precinct went to Grant’s house at 22-44 82nd Street on January 6 to visit Grant’s mother, an elderly crime victim. No one answered when the officer knocked but the front door was open, giving the cop a clear view of what was going on inside, prosecutors said. The home was crawling with cats and dogs living in an environment so filthy that it claimed the life of a dog named Dorothy and left another dog, Bond, “living in pain with every movement,” prosecutors said.

Police and members of the ASPCA Rescue Squad returned to the home on January 28, where they observed cats and dogs with missing eyes, patches of missing and matted fur and signs of malnutrition, authorities said.

The cops returned hours later with a search warrant and rescued 67 animals that were suffering from a variety of illnesses including dental diseases, respiratory infections and ear mites. Only two of the 55 rescued cats had no serious health problems, prosecutors said.

“The defendant is accused of letting her pets live in deplorable conditions,” Brown said. “The floor and furnishings in the defendant’s home were allegedly covered in feces, fur and urine. The smell of ammonia was so overwhelming, animal rescue workers had to wear respirators to breathe, as well as protective clothing when entering the premises,” Brown said.

Grant’s attorney, Richard Bruce Rosenthal, said his client and her mother took the sick and abandoned animals into the home, and were in the process of nursing them back to health when the ASPCA workers took them away. Rosenthal argued that the animals were not ignored and that authorities exaggerated the condition of the home.

Grant was released without bail at her arraignment at Queens Criminal Court and was ordered to return to court on May 10.

Police and ASPCA officials are urging Queens residents to utilize an NYPD lifeline when the observe cases of animal abuse. Officials said anyone wanting to report animal abuse in their neighborhood should call the CrimeStoppers HOTLINE to report the condition.

ASPCA officials said the public can “stop dangerous criminals and give animal victims a better chance to survive” by reporting animal abuse on the highly successful hotline. “A program like CrimeStoppers is an invaluable tool to help the NYPD to solve animal cruelty and bring perpetrators to justice,” ASPCA officials said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the CrimeStoppers HOTLINE provides “a way for the public to work with the NYPD to keep their neighborhoods safe and help rescue helpless animals that are subjected to torture and cruelty. ”Violence has no place in our city, whether it’s committed against a person or an animal,” Bratton said.

The CrimeStoppers HOTLINE is now offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to arrests and indictments in animal cruelty cases throughout New York City, police officials said. The program is an extension of the recently established partnership between the ASPCA and the NYPD that gave police power to respond to animal abuse complaints – and to investigate individuals who abuse helpless animals.

To report suspected animal abuse in Queens, call the CrimeStoppers HOTLINE at 1-800-577-TIPS or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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