Craig Hunt and

Loyce Ogden

124 cats found, 71 found dead

Springfield, OH

Jefferson County

September 11, 2008

A home where county officials found 71 dead cats has been declared unfit for living.

  (Photo courtesy of Dayton Daily News)  The Clark County Combined Health District condemned the home Friday, Sept. 12 — a day after the discovery that included 53 live cats at 2425 Beatrice St.

"I'm ordering it vacated because I've found it to be dangerous to life and health," Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said Friday. "It must remain vacant until I give written permission to re-enter."

The home had animal feces all over, and a nonworking toilet and plumbing.

Resident and cat owner Loyce Ogden, 56, pleaded not guilty to theft and failure to obey health department officials Friday.

She is charged with stealing animal traps from a neighbor's property, according to a police report.

She may face additional charges of animal cruelty, said Ed Sisler, Clark County Humane Society director.

Sisler said the Humane Society, already facing a financial crisis, is asking the community for contributions specifically for the medical treatment of the living cats taken from the home.

Humane society officials were at the house Thursday morning on a follow-up visit.

More than 60 dead cats were found wrapped in newspapers and stuffed in trash bags in the garage Thursday. Four others were found dead under a bed inside the home.

Update 10/3/08:  Animal cruelty charges were filed against a Springfield couple who had more than 100 cats inside their home.

Loyce Ogden and her live-in boyfriend, Craig Hunt, are each facing five counts of animal cruelty.

Police said 71 of the cats in their home were found dead in mid-September.

Prosecutors said they want Ogden to be banned from owning cats ever again.

                   

(Photo's courtesy of WHIO TV)

Update 11/24/08:  A Springfield couple who had more than 70 dead cats in their Beatrice Street home were found guilty of animal cruelty on Monday, Nov. 24.

Clark County Municipal Court Judge Denise Moody found Loyce Ogden and Craig Hunt each guilty of five counts of cruelty to a companion animal. The couple pleaded no contest to the charges. Moody ordered a pre-sentence investigation with a Jan. 12 sentencing date.

On Sept. 11, Clark County officials found the couple and 124 cats in unsanitary conditions, including at least 71 animals dead in their home at 2425 Beatrice St.

Clark County Humane Society officials found dead cats wrapped in newspaper and sealed in garbage bags in the garage. Four of the dead cats were found under a bed and 67 in the garage. One dead kitten was found under a pillow.

"This is the first (case) I've been to where the people were actually sleeping with dead carcasses," said Ed Sisler, Clark County humane society director. After the live cats were removed, Sisler was left with the task of going through 39 garbage bags retrieving nearly 70 cats in various stages of decomposition.

"It's an experience I will long remember and care never to repeat," he said.

The maximum sentence the couple could receive is 90 days in jail and $750 fine for each count, Moody said of the second-degree misdemeanor charges.

          

(Photo's courtesy of The Springfield News Sun - last photo is of Loyce Ogden closing the door at her home)

Update 1/12/09:  A Springfield couple was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail for animal cruelty. Craig Hunt and Loyce Ogden were charged after authorities found 124 cats in a Beatrice Street house. More than half of the cats were dead.

Clark County Municipal Judge Denise Moody suspended the jail sentence, stating they cannot own animals during the length of their sentence. They were also ordered to undergo counseling. Hunt was ordered to perform 10 hours of community service at the Clark County Humane Society. Ogden was taken into custody temporarily while the Judge awaits doctors reports.

Ed Sisler, Executive Director of the Clark County Humane Society said he had been dealing with Ogden for the past seven years in at least three different neighborhoods. This time they got a warrant. Inside Ogden's home they found 71 dead cats, and 53 more still alive, but in bad shape.

Authorities said the dead cats were found wrapped in newspapers, and stuffed in trash bags. They even found some rotting underneath a bed.

"I am not cruel to animals, that is my passion," Ogden told Judge Moody during her sentencing hearing.  Ogden said she loved animals, and had spent hundreds of dollars caring for those cats by buying them food and vaccines.  "I was at wit's end. I certainly need help and did not get it," said Ogden.

Sisler said he was satisfied with the sentence. "I never like to see individuals in this type of situation but more importantly, I don't want to see animals in conditions they were living in this home."

Health department officials said the home was filthy. The basement was filled with human sewage, the carpets covered wall-to-wall with cat feces, and to top it off, there was no plumbing in the home.

"The nuisance is not abated. There's still some filth present, still some contaminated furnishings we need to dispose of and tremendous amount of cleaning needs to be done," said Dan Chatfield, with the Clark County Health Department.   The Health Department has spent $4,000 to restore plumbing to the home.

The homeowner, Craig Hunt, will be held responsible to clean up the rest of the mess. If not, the health department will take over and hand Hunt the final bill.

Reference:

KRQE

The Springfield News Sun

WHIO TV

Dayton Daily News