RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A 45-year-old Moreno Valley woman plead guilty Thursday to 17 counts of animal cruelty for keeping dozens of cats at her home in inhumane conditions.
Kristen Gotangco admitted to the felony charges during a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice. She plead directly to Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane without input or objection from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
According to officials with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Moreno Valley Animal Control, nearly 100 cats and kittens were found last July in the defendants home in the 2200 block of La Jolla Circle, near TownGate Memorial Park.
Deputies were initially called to the location after a neighbor complained of a foul odor that raised public health concerns. The deputies entered the property and found cats caged in filthy conditions, with some suffering from health complications as a result.
Animal control officials said more than 20 cats were found dead or in such dire condition that they needed to be euthanized. Other cats were too feral to be placed at the shelter and were diverted to a specialized animal care facility. Two dogs were also rescued from the property.
Ultimately, 16 cats and kittens were rehabilitated and put up for adoption last summer.
There was no word on why Gotangco, who has no prior documented felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County, was hoarding the animals.
Gotangco is currently free on a $50,000 bond. Sentencing is scheduled for April 7, with O’Rane expected to impose a term of probation and possibly jail time.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)