By Bill Parry
A Jackson Heights woman has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and other charges for allegedly keeping more than 50 animals in an unsanitary living environment that veterinary professionals said caused extreme health problems from malnutrition to respiratory infections and many other painful conditions.
At least one dog was in such failing health, she had to be euthanized, the Queens district attorney announced Tuesday.
Elizabeth Grant, 48, of 22-44 82nd St. was arraigned Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Elisa Koenderman on four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and 63 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide sustenance, the DA said. Grant was released on her own recognizance and ordered to return to court May 10.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to two years in prison.
“The defendant is accused of permitting her pets to live in deplorable condition,” DA Richard 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.”
According to the charges, a crime prevention officer went to the defendant’s home on Jan. 6 to visit Grant’s mother, an elderly crime victim. Although no one answered the knock, the door was open and the officer allegedly observed numerous animals inside the home and the interior was filthy, the DA said.
The officer returned to the home Jan. 28 with members of the ASPCA. According to the complaint, a court-authorized search warrant was issued and the ASPCA members rescued 55 cats, 12 dogs and two turtles.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr