“She was leading a double life. We thought she really cared about these animals and wanted to find homes for them,” said Yatir Nitzany. “We were so so wrong. I think everyone is just still in shock over this.”
A South Florida woman was known for rescuing cats. But now she’s accused of leaving them alone, starving, in horrible conditions. What happened to at least two dozen cats in this Northeast Miami-Dade efficiency apartment has local residents demanding justice.
Here’s the scoop per 7 News Miami:
Lindsay Donzanti rescues cats: “No water, no food, no air. This hot weather, and ultimately probably cannibalizing their friends, their brothers, sisters, mothers.”
Miami-Dade Police were called in February about a “very strong foul odor” coming from the home. Inside — they found the dead cats.
Kathleen Labrada, Miami-Dade Animal Services: “This is the worst case for our investigations team of animal neglect and cruelty that we’ve ever seen.”
Animal services removed 15 to 20 dead cats. A few cats were unresponsive and had to be euthanized.
Kathleen Labrada: “The amount of death and decay and filth inside this residence that cats were living in is absolutely beyond belief.”
Police arrested Cheryn Smilen, charging her with 18 counts of animal cruelty.
Lindsay Donzanti: “Upset is an understatement.”
What makes this group of cat rescuers so angry is Smilen ran a rescue of her own — and they worked with her.
Arlene Bercun rescues cats: “I paid her to help me catch the four kittens from the park.”
All the rescuers say Smilen insisted on keeping the cats, promising she would adopt them out.
Brian Entin: “Do you think they ended up here?”
Arlene Bercun: “You know what, I can’t even think about it because I really loved those little kittens.”
Smilen’s group was called Smilen Cat Rescue.
The website says it is “dedicated to the welfare of kittens and cats” and was even accepting donations up until last week, when the site was taken down.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of cats connected to Cheryn Smilen or her supposed rescue organization, authorities request that you call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
Are you outraged over what this sick woman did to these poor animals?