Judge limits Middletown cat rescue owner’s contact with animals

1:19 p.m Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 Middletown

The former owner of a Middletown cat rescue was sentenced Wednesday after being found guilty of animal cruelty in August.

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Lesli Martin, who was found guilty of five of six charges of cruelty to companion animals, was sentenced to pay $500 for each of the five counts and court costs for one count by Middletown Municipal Court Judge Melynda Cook Howard.

The judge also sentenced Martin to 30 days in jail on each of the five charges, but suspended the jail time if she successfully completes one year probation.

Martin was ordered to pay restitution to Animals Friends Humane Society for euthanasia fees and cruelty exam fees and to the Butler County dog warden for the 28 animals it took that were in her care. Martin was ordered to pay a total of more than $2,148 in restitution.

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She will be allowed to keep one dog and three cats she has in her personal possession. For an indefinite period of time, however, she will not be allowed to have any other animals.

Cook Howard made it clear that Martin was to own no additional companion animals of any kind.

“No cats, dogs or four-legged animals. Not a gerbil, not a hamster, not a llama, not a goat,” the judge said.

Martin is also prohibited from running an animal shelter, volunteering at an animal shelter, or being involved in any way with an animal shelter for an indefinite period of time.

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A search warrant was served Nov. 30 at Martin’s rescue, then located at a storefront in Middletown Shopping Center, and 50 cats were found. About 28 cats that were sick and injured were seized from the shelter, according to records.

One cat and five kittens were euthanized because a veterinarian determined they were suffering from multiple medical conditions, including ring worm and flea anemia. Those animals were the basis of the charges against Martin, 51.

Martin told the judge before sentencing that the mother cats were taken by her shelter and had kittens. Those kittens developed discharge from their nose and she did that them to the veterinarian. When two of the kittens were not getting any better, Martin said she made an appointment to take them back for treatment.

“I was diligent with medication … I did everything I could,” Martin said.

Cook Howard told Martin she thought her heart was in the right place, but that she was reckless in not proceeding with getting the kittens the care they needed, thus, “the animals suffered and were put to death.”

The judge said she did not believe Martin intentionally harmed the cats, if that were the case, “you would be serving multiple days in jail.”

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