Woman charged with 36 counts of animal neglect

DORAVILLE - Thirty-six cats are in the care of local animal rescue and care centers after the felines were seized from a Doraville woman's home Wednesday.

Donna Wheatley was cited with 36 counts of animal neglect after Gwinnett County Animal Control investigated the home several times and deemed the residence unsuitable for the animals.

Cpl. Darren Moloney, Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman, said police and animal control obtained a search warrant to enter the home around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He said the cats were living inside the single home at 4678 Ash Street. He said officers found the cats in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions, eating and defecating in the same areas of the home.

"All the cats were checked by an on-scene veterinarians," Moloney said. "Many of the cats were in need of care."

He said Wheatley voluntarily released all 36 cats to animal control and were taken to Fur Kids Cat Rescue, Good Mews Cat Rescue and the Lawrenceville-Suwanee Animal Hospital.

The organizations are trying to find homes for the cats. Anyone interested in adopting one or more of the animals can contact Fur Kids by visiting www.furkids.org or Good Mews at www.goodmews.org.

Sammy Jeanes, Animal Control manager, said although each neglect case is different, officers go to the scene checking animals for signs of starvation and physical abuse.

He said every animal found is checked by a veterinarian either on scene or soon after they are taken from the residence.

"(In this case) it's a very large number of animals for one residence, Jeanes said. "It would be kind of hard to have all those cats without the spread of disease among each other."

He said any one with multiple animals takes on the responsibility of properly taking care of their needs.

"If you have 36 cats on 25 acres that may be ok, but in a single home, there would be problems."