Woman indicted on cruelty charges after 100 dead cats found in her freezer last March, officials say

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In this photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service, a cat waits to evacuate from a burning animal shelter in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 14, 2019. The Emergencies Ministry said its workers saved 300 cats and seven dogs from the fire. (Ministry of Emergency Situations for Northwest press service via AP)

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman who animal control says had more than 100 dead cats in a freezer at her home last year is now facing 24 criminal charges.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that Lisa Hokaj-Ross was indicted Monday on 24 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

Previously, she was only facing court action in reference to the forfeiture of animals that were in her home, the spokeswoman said.

Virginia Beach Animal Control responded to Hokaj-Ross’ home on Spindle Crossing in Virginia Beach March 18 for a report about a possible cat-hoarding case, animal control authorities said at the time.

A supervisor said there were a “large number” of animals in the home, some alive and some dead.

The smell of cat urine was so strong officers were forced to wear masks when going in.

Officers pulled out 24 live cats, and found 100-plus dead cats in the freezer. Animal control believed some of the living cats were wild and untamed — possibly feral.

Animal control said they had been to the house years before on a similar call.

In 2015, Hokaj-Ross was found guilty of breaking into animal control to free caged cats, according to officials at the time.

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