A Chambersburg, Pa., man must pay $300 in fines and about $150 in court costs for putting two cats in a pet carrier and leaving them in a locked self-storage unit at Affordable Mini Storage in Chambersburg for four days in August 2011.
Trumaine Curtis, 28, was found guilty last week of three animal-cruelty charges during a summary trial. He was found not guilty on three other cruelty charges.
Humane Police Officer Floyd Hessler of Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter told the source he was called Aug. 29 to Affordable Mini Storage at 700 Loudon St. Facility owner Amy Mahon told him an employee had been checking the units and heard cats crying. The employee eventually discovered the noise was coming from Curtis' unit, which he started renting Aug. 25. The employee cut the lock and found the animals in a small pet carrier.
"It was extremely hot in there and it was stinky," Mahon told the source. "The cats were very skinny, they smelled terrible, very dirty."
Hessler testified he found no water in the pet carrier. There was some food, but the cats had urinated and defecated on it. While inside the carrier, the cats were unable to do anything but lie in their own waste.
A few days before he was called to Affordable Self Storage, Hessler was called to Curtis' apartment, where he recently was evicted for not paying rent, to investigate an allegedly abandoned pit bull and cat. Curtis testified he, his wife and daughter had relocated to a motel that didn't allow pets, which is why he rented the storage unit.
The judge called Curtis' treatment of the cats "inexcusable" when issuing the fines. Hessler pushed for the judge to consider sentencing Curtis to jail time and to pay restitution to the animal shelter, but these requests were denied.
All three cats fully recovered fully and were adopted. The dog also recovered and was taken by a rescue group.