Marilyn Davis, who was charged with animal hoarding after 73 cats died as a result of a fire at her Las Cruces home earlier this month, is facing new charges after officers found 21 more cats at her downtown office on Wednesday, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
"I just want people to know that not all people who own large amounts of animals are crazy," said Davis, who told the Sun-News that some people with lots of animals spend lots of time and money taking care of them.
Davis earlier pleaded no contest to 73 counts of failure to adequately provide proper care and maintenance and one count of violating her kennel license following the fire that broke out on May 12 in one of the Volkswagen vans outside her home at a Las Cruces RV park, the Sun-News said.
Now she may face additional charges after animal control officers executed a search warrant on Wednesday at her office in a downtown Las Cruces building she manages, the paper reported.
There, amid the cat figurines, cat pictures and cat-caricature screen saver on her computer, were 21 live cats, which were taken to the Dona Ana County Humane Society — where it will be determined whether to put them up for adoption or euthanize them, the Sun-News said.
That's just what Davis told the Sun-News she had been trying to avoid when she took in all those cats at her home, fed and cared for them, paying for up to 100 pounds of food each week.
Davis also said she had as many cats neutered as she could afford, she told the paper.
"If it hadn't been for the fire, they might have lived their whole life in their home," Davis said.
Davis said some of the cats found in her office Wednesday were some who had escaped the May 12 fire and had returned home, the Sun-News said.
The fire in Davis' van was the first of a series of animal-hoarding cases in the Las Cruces area that surfaced over a four-day period.
On May 15, 129 cats were taken from a Mesilla Park home, and while one died on the way to the Humane Society all the others were euthanized when it was found they suffered from a variety of ailments, including leukemia and AIDS, the Sun-News said.
Gina Gentile, 40, a Mesilla town employee, was arrested when she tried to sneak one of the cats away from her home in a suitcase during a welfare check at her home, the paper reported.
Then on May 16, another 34 cats were found alive and 16 dead at the Las Cruces home of 72-year-old Betty McArthur, who has not been charged in that case.