A 67-year-old Clinton woman is facing 13 counts of cruelty to animals after an investigation uncovered the carcasses of 10 cats inside the 406 Park Ave. home where she once lived, a residence that officers said was also covered in animal waste. The house is currently being demolished following a condemnation order by the city.
Clinton police arrested Ondra Brooshire Black, now of 523 Shipp Road, earlier this week, charging her with the misdemeanor cruelty offenses as well as one count of failure to dispose of dead animals.
The arrest comes on the heels of an investigation which began in late February of the Park Avenue home, precipitated by resident complaints.
According to Clinton police reports, Animal Control officer Kevin Herring visited the residence on Feb. 20 and, when he couldn’t get anyone to answer the door, posted the first of two notices instructing the home owner to make contact with police. Herring returned to the residence on Feb. 25, found the notices but still could not get anyone to respond to knocks on the door.
One day later, on Feb. 26, Black made contact through the E911 Center and Herring met the woman at the Park Avenue home. She was, the officer noted at the time, holding a cat when he and another officer arrived to meet her.
Black, reports show, refused to give Herring consent to search the residence and perform what he called an animal welfare check. He made the request a second time after Black opened the back door of the residence to put her cat inside, and the officers caught a strong odor coming from within. She again refused but did acknowledge she had owned several cats in the past.
At that point Herring informed the woman that he and the deputy could return with a search warrant forcing her to allow them inside, and a neighbor reportedly encouraged her to give the officers permission to enter.
Reports show that Black agreed to let them inside but explained that there was animal feces on the floor, left there, she said, because she didn’t have time to clean it up.
When officers entered the home, they noted on reports that a strong smell of urine and feces intensified as they moved inside. What’s more, the report noted, the entire floor was covered in feces.
A search warrant was then obtained and more officers, along with other city officials, were called to the scene. During the investigation, officers located the carcasses of 10 cats and rescued one live cat from the home.
Because of the public health issues related to the house, City Council condemned the residence at its March meeting and work began in earnest this week to level the structure.
Black was released under a $10,000 unsecured bond. She is to make her first appearance in Sampson District Court on April 30.