By Bill Parry
A Jackson Heights woman will not serve time in prison for hoarding 67 pets in her filthy 82nd Street apartment, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Monday.
Elizabeth Grant, 50, was sentenced to three years probation under stringent conditions that she receive mental health counseling and not own any animals for at least 10 years.
Grant was convicted during a bench trial last month of 108 counts of animal cruelty and other charges for failing to provide adequate care for 54 cats and dogs she housed in a urine- and feces-filled home. The pets, 67 in all, were rescued in January 2016, and many of the animals had extreme health problems, including malnutrition and infections. Twelve animals were in such poor health they had to be euthanized.
“The defendant collected cats and dogs and did little else to provide a safe, loving home for them,” Brown said. “Sadly, the animals suffered while living in a home where the floors and furnishings were covered in feces, fur and urine. No one should live in such squalor, including the furry four-legged residents of Queens County.”
On Monday, Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Zaro, who presided at the trial, ruled Grant must also register with the New York City Department of Health as an animal abuser and consent to unannounced visits to make sure she does not possess any animals. The animal abuser registration will prevent city shelters, rescue groups and pet stores from allowing Grant to purchase or adopt a pet.
“The sentence imposed by the court today will ensure the defendant receives mental health counseling and restricts her from having any animals in her possession for many years to come,” Brown said.
The animals were discovered when a police officer went to Grant’s home in January 2016 to visit with her mother, who was a crime victim. No one answered at the time, however, the officer could see past the opened door and noticed the interior appeared to be filthy with numerous pets inside. The officer left, but returned later that month with members of the ASPCA and rescued 55 cats, 12 dogs and two turtles, according to trial testimony.
“The ASPCA commends the NYPD for working with us to rescue these animals from a dangerous situation and the Queens County district attorney’s office for securing justice in this case,” Stacy Wolf, the senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group, said. “Fortunately, the ASPCA’s team was able to provide the medical and behavioral treatment necessary to nurse the majority of the animals back to health and find them loving, safe homes.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr