SL woman accused of abandoning 15 pets to die

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Storm Lake woman has been accused of shutting 15 pet cats in a house and leaving them to die.

Dawn Williams, 42, was jailed Saturday on 15 counts of Animal Neglect, and held on $15,000 bond.

Police were called to 615 Geneseo Street Saturday morning, after a passerby noticed a cut screen and a partially open window on the ground floor of an apparently empty house, and suspected a burglary.

Police found a rear door unlocked, and entered to determine if a crime had been committed. Officers found the interior of the home covered with animal feces. Checking further, they began to find skeletal remains, and located the bones of 15 cats throughout the house.

After an investigation, police allege that Williams abandoned the house about six months ago, locking the animals inside. Officers said the cats quickly ran out of food and water and started to feed on each other. There were no live animals in the residence.

Officers located Williams at a relative's home in Storm Lake and arrested her. She reportedly entered a plea of guilty with a magistrate, who mistakenly believed the charges to be simple misdemeanors and sentenced Williams to serve five days in jail to be scheduled later with fines suspended, and Williams was released. Later the magistrate realized the error in jurisdiction. The sentence is wiped out, and Williams will now have an initial appearance in court December 11 to face the charges.

The department has notified city officials of the "deplorable" condition of the property.

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