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Woman Sentenced for Locking a Dozen Cats in Unity, ME, Self-Storage Unit

A woman was sentenced this week to serve 20 days in jail after leaving a dozen cats locked inside a Unity, Maine, self-storage unit last year without food or water. Anna C. Elander, 67, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in August. Superior Court Justice Robert Murray sentenced her to 364 days in jail, with all but 20 suspended. Her sentence begins on Jan. 3. She’s also banned from owning cats again, according to a source.

The animals were discovered Oct. 5, 2018, by another self-storage customer who heard them and notified the property owner. The animals had been in the unit for nearly three weeks, a source reported.

When investigators opened the unit, they discovered the felines in three plastic dog crates. Three were dead and two died after being taken in by the Humane Society Waterville Area. The shelter staff called the surviving animals “Miracle Cats” and worked to get them healthy and adoptable, a source reported.

In a letter to the court, Elander explained how the cats came to be in the unit. She wrote that she placed most of her belongings in storage after moving out of her home in 2017. Her dogs were housed at a boarding kennel. She placed the cats in the storage unit, with plans to care for them there until she could make other arrangements.

Elander will have a one-year probation that requires her to complete a mental-health evaluation, counseling and treatment. She must also perform 7.5 hours of public service and pay a $685 fine. As part of her probation, she’ll be limited to owning no more than four dogs at one time.

Sources:
Bangor Daily News, Woman Sentenced to 20 Days for Locking Cats in Shed Without Food and Water
Bangor Daily News, Maine Woman Accused of Locking Cats Inside Storage Unit Could Face 5 Years Behind Bars

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