Woman with 96 cats ordered to counseling and probation

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – Losing her cats was like losing a child for Carol Bowie of Howard Township. She had a home for her cats, all 96 of them at her residence on Barron Lake Road.
Tuesday morning in Cass County 4th District Court, Judge Paul Deats put Bowie on 12 months of probation and ordered her to attend counseling as recommended by the probation department for two counts of animal cruelty.
In September, Cass County Animal Control officials took 96 live cats from Bowie's home at 1251 Barron Lake Road after receiving an e-mail message about a woman collecting cats. An investigation followed. In addition to the 96 live cats taken from her home, there were 30 dead cats found. A few were found in Bowie's freezer. A large number have since been euthanized because of their poor physical condition, and animal control officials said the healthier cats have been adopted or claimed recently. Tuesday morning, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jason Ronning said there are a few cats left at the animal shelter.
According to records, animal control officials found the Bowie home at the time of the raid to be covered with cat feces and urine. They found uncleaned litter boxes plus several sick cats in cages. It is not known why the cats were placed in the freezer, Michael Grice, animal control officer, said Tuesday morning at the sentencing hearing.
Ronning asked for restitution for the animal control department for its inspection of the property and cat care. He said probation would be appropriate for Bowie. He said she loves animals but "obviously is not able to care for them."
Defense Attorney James Miller told the court that Bowie tried to rescue animals that were discarded by others. Some were ill and some were pregnant. He said the volume of the animals became an issue, but she never intended to harm them. She had taken some of the cats to a veterinarian and had given treatments herself. "She cared for the animals," he said noting some people dumped their cats on her for her willingness to take care of them. He agreed probation would be appropriate.
Bowie said people dropped the cats off on her property. She found cats on her porch. Some people had allergies and gave them up. She said she saw an ad on the Internet about her taking in cats and asked the site to drop it because she had too many cats. She said she took the cats to the veterinarian and had a stack of bills. Every four to five days she bought 120 to 160 pounds of cat food. She said a lot of her cats had to be put down because they were too old to be adopted. One was 22 to 26-years-old. "I had them all neutered. I love them dearly," she pleaded. She said cats were put in her husband's bedroom, and nothing was wrong with them. "I had a home for them." She said she put the cats in the freezer when she found them dead on the road and claimed someone living nearby poisoned some cats that she also found dead.
Deats ordered Bowie to pay restitution of $10,237.50. He ordered no cats to be owned or possessed by her. She is to pay a cost of $300 for each of her two counts and if not, she is to spend 30 days in jail. Deats wished Bowie good luck.