2018-03-21 / Front Page

Animal Abuser Convicted Of 108 Cruelty Charges

By Liz Goff
A 50-year-old Jackson Heights woman is facing two years in prison after she was found guilty of 108 counts of animal cruelty, prosecutors said.

Elizabeth Grant was charged with failing to care for 55 cats, 12 dogs and two turtles, who prosecutors said were living in “deplorable conditions” when police visited her 82nd Street home in January 2016.

Prosecutors said a Crime Prevention officer at a local precinct went to Grant’s house at 22-44 82nd Street on January 6, 2016 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. A dozen of the animals, including Dorothy, were so sick that they had to be euthanized, an ASPCA spokesperson said. More than 50 of the animals were treated and rehabilitated and were later adopted.

Police and members of the ASPCA Rescue Squad returned to the home days later, where they observed cats and dogs with missing eyes, patches of missing and matted fur and signs of malnutrition.

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.

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 responded by filing suit against the Queens District Attorney’s office, the city and the ASPCA. Grant claimed in the lawsuit that prosecutors charged her with animal cruelty charges in April 2016 because she demanded the return of her animals. A federal judge tossed out the lawsuit in 2017.

Following a six-day bench trial, Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Zaro found Grant guilty of the animal cruelty charges. Grant faces up to two years in prison at her sentencing on April 29.

“Taking in a dog or cat is a huge responsibility,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “In addition to hugs and love, pets need food, a clean home and meticulous care. The defendant in this case collected cats and dogs and did little else to maintain a safe living environment for them,” Brown said.

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.

The CrimeStoppers HOTLINE is 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 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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