Officers with the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division have charged Laura Louise Prince with 128 animal cruelty offenses resulting from their investigation into the welfare of animals housed at two of her residences: a townhouse in the 12000 block of Sweetbough Court in North Potomac and an apartment in the 9800 block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.
Prince, age 62, most recently of the 9800 block of Georgia Avenue, turned herself into authorities on Monday, August 6, and was charged with 128 animal cruelty offenses. That same day she posted a $2,500 bond and was released.
On June 23, Animal Services Officers (ASO’s) were called to the North Potomac address for the report of a cat in distress. The responding officer found the cat was not in distress but detected a strong odor of ammonia that prompted the officer to have concern about the sanitary conditions inside the residence. No one answered the door and a note was left to contact the officer. No reply was received.
The ASO was later able to contact the homeowner, Laura Louise Prince, by phone and was told by Prince that she had 8 cats in the residence and that she was out of town. An animal welfare inspection of the residence was arranged for Saturday, July 14. When the officer arrived for the inspection it was observed to be in overwhelmingly unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Prince agreed to surrender the animals to the Animal Services Division for care at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood. Inspectors from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs were contacted, and after their inspection of the property, the home was condemned as unfit for human habitation.
Over the course of the next 14 days, ASO’s removed 75 cats and one domestic rabbit from the North Potomac residence. An examination by veterinarians at the MCASAC found that every animal was infested with fleas to such an extent that it overwhelmed the animals normal grooming behavior and that scratching was causing hair loss.
On July 25, ASO’s verified that multiple animals were also being kept in unsanitary conditions at Prince’s Silver Spring residence on Georgia Avenue. That evening a search warrant was served and 50 cats and two domestic rabbits were removed from that residence and transported to the MCASAC for treatment. These animals were also infested with fleas and that scratching was causing hair loss.
After proper treatment and care at the MCASAC, the animals’ conditions have improved and they are now engaging in normal grooming behavior.
“Admittedly, this was a difficult case from the outset. The barriers and conditions including flea infestation and unsafe air quality in the townhouse on Sweetbough Court presented extraordinary challenges to our officers, whose performance was extraordinary in their efforts to safely remove the cats from this home,” said Animal Services Division Director Thomas Koenig. “Now we are presented with the difficult challenge of adding 128 animals to our shelter operations, forcing us to make difficult choices based on limited resources.”
Officers with the Animal Services Division want the public to contact them at 301-279-8000 whenever there is concern about conditions and circumstances regarding animal housing or treatment. If an animal’s life is in immediate danger, it is appropriate to call the 9-1-1 emergency number.
Media contact: ASD Director Thomas Koenig 240-773-5928 or Thomas.Koenig@montgomerycountymd.gov
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