GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio - A Garfield Heights cat hoarder cited multiple times for cruelty to animals was found guilty Tuesday of violating a court order banning her from having cats.
Garfield Heights Animal Warden Bonnie Hackett and an animal advocacy group returned to the Rockwood Avenue property of Kim Sanducci Tuesday to remove several cats and kittens from the overgrown yard and porch.
“It's the cats that are really suffering. They're being fed, but they're not getting the care that they need medically,” Hackett said.
Investigators have been to the property for cat hoarding before, citing Sanducci on charges including cruelty to animals in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Animal advocate Debra Bartowick, with Forever Friends and the Euclid Beach Cat Project, said about fifty cats have been removed from the property since 2012, including some with serious health issues.
“The cats that have come out of here, the first seizure, they had lice, they had fleas, some were emaciated, one was in kidney failure and it was a young cat,” Bartowick said.
Neighbors said cats from the property continue to be a nuisance to surrounding homes.
“In your backyard, on your front porch, they hiss at you, you hear them at night time on the porch,” said Brandy Dudley, who lives next door.
A Garfield Heights magistrate found Sanducci guilty Tuesday of violating a probation order stemming from the 2016 case that banned her from having animals for five years.
Sanducci told FOX 8 News after the hearing that the cats in her yard are strays and that she has asked the city to trap and remove them.
“I'm not there. I can't police, I've got skunks, I've got possum, I get deer, I get squirrels, I get skunks, I can't possibly watch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Sanducci said. “If [Hackett] were doing her job, there wouldn't be this problem.”
Her husband, Steve Sanducci, said they are being unfairly targeted after the 2012 raid.
“Kim was an animal hoarder. Some of the cats were in bad shape. They felt she really wasn't punished enough, so this is a witch hunt,” he said. “She can't help it if a cat walks up on our porch. And that's what's happening.”
Hackett said she unsuccessfully tried trapping cats for two weeks after the 2016 case, but the traps were somehow tripped and closed with no cats inside of them.
She said she found fresh cat food inside the house Tuesday, indicating the cats are being fed. She set additional traps for cats remaining on the property.
“It doesn't matter if they're stray or if they're pets. What matters is that they're hanging out here, and they're only going to hang out where they're being fed,” Hackett said.