A 44-year-old woman from Wyalusing has been charged with cruelty to and neglect of animals after Meshoppen police say she dropped  off a cardboard box with three adult cats and eight kittens on the side of the road on a cold December night in Meshoppen township.

Erin Marie Putney of Valley View Road faces 11 counts of cruelty to animals and 22 counts of neglect of animals, according to a police criminal complaint  filed by Meshoppen Patrolman Sierra N. Crane.

The animals were discovered around 6 p.m., Dec. 22, near the intersection of Route 6 and Copperhead Lane and left next to a dumpster in a taped cardboard box.

After their discovery by the people who owned the dumpster, the cats were turned over to Paula Foux of Meshoppen Cat Rescue. On the Rescue's facebook page she shared: "Tonight we at Meshoppen Cat Rescue are outraged at the heartless evil humans that dumped 11 cats and kittens taped in a box by a dumpster."

Officer Crane had been contacted by Foux on Dec. 23, and noted a Facebook post of the cats, yielded a person who was able to identify the cats and who they previously belonged to.

On Dec. 28, Officer Crane contacted Ashlie McMicken who admitted the cats did belong to her. She explained that two female stray cats showed up at her home in 2019, and she had tried to find homes for subsequent litters.

According to the complaint, Putney acquired the animals from McMicken who told police she didn't have the heart to leave the cats at a shelter, but her friend, Putney, offered to do it for her.

It was the McMicken's understanding that Putney would take the cats to the Meshoppen Cat Rescue and leave them there. But, according to the complaint  Putney said she saw cameras at the cat rescue and panicked, so she allegedly left them by a dumpster. 

Officer Crane noted from a follow-up investigation that Foux of the Meshoppen Cat Rescue told her that all 11 cats became ill and died.

Dr. Dorothy Farr, a veterinarian who examined the animals, stated the cats were hypothermal upon arrival at the cat rescue on Dec. 22, were underweight and were suffering from a parasitic infection.

She told Officer Crane that she believed being left outside in the cold was a contributing factor to the cats' deaths.

Putney is scheduled for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge David K. Plummer in Tunkhannock Township on Feb. 23.

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