Cruelty charges possible in dead pets case


by KING 5 News

Posted on January 23, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 24 at 4:25 PM

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. - A Granite Falls woman and her son could face 31 counts of animal cruelty – one count for each animal found dead inside a home.

Photos from Pasado's Safe Haven show the remains of animals, as well as garbage and feces found inside of the house.

Only three cats were brought out of the home alive.

People from Pasado's helped clean out the home Saturday.

"Seems like everywhere you stepped there's an animal. They literally did just lay down and die," said Amber Chenoweth of Pasado's.

They say some of the animals had been dead for more than six months and had trash piled on top of them.

Pasado's is caring for the three surviving cats.

Chenoweth said Granite Falls Police Chief Dennis Taylor rescued all three cats in the dark on Friday night. She said Taylor went into the house and wouldn't come out until he made sure he got all the surviving animals, so Pasado's has named a black and white cat "Taylor" after him. 

The cats need a lot of care and will be put up for adoption when they are healthy.

The owner of the animals, Diane Cowling, lived in the home until last month.

Cowling said she was diagnosed with breast cancer, then her home went into foreclosure, and no shelter would take her animals.

"I just shut down. I didn't see it. I didn't want to deal with it," she said.

Cowling is now living in an apartment with her son. She says she should not be charged, but instead should be offered help.