Manistique woman charged with felony animal cruelty after 65 cats found in home

MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WLUC) – A Manistique woman has been charged with a felony animal cruelty charge after more than 65 cats were found in her home.

According to the Manistique Public Safety Department (MPSD), 67-year-old Kathleen Ann Hurkmans, of 112 South Maple Street in Manistique, was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Hurkmans was arraigned in 93rd District Court Sept. 2, on a felony charge of Animals-Abandoning/Cruelty to 24 or more animals (did fail to provide 25 or more animals with adequate care, or negligently allow 25 or more animals to suffer unnecessary neglect, torture, or pain).

The charge is punishable by up to 7 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, not less than 5 years of probation, up to 500 hours of community service or any combination of those penalties.

Hurkmans’ bond was set at $5,000, with personal recognizance allowed. A probable cause hearing has been set for Sept. 8 at 9:00 a.m., with a preliminary hearing on Sept. 20 at 10:00 a.m. She was also ordered by the court, to not return to the home at 112 South Maple St., not to possess or control any animals, and to submit to a psychological exam.

Public safety officers began an investigation into Hurkmans on Aug. 19 following a report of animal cruelty.

After obtaining search warrants, officers discovered that a large number of cats were present in the home, and living in filthy conditions likely to cause sickness or disease.

MPSD Investigator Regan Twardokus began to live trap the cats at the home. Those cats and kittens were turned over to the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter in Manistique for care and assessment.

Trapping the cats has continued over the last two weeks, and to date, 65 live cats and kittens were found. In addition, officers found at least 15 dead cats decomposing in and around the home. Public safety says it is suspected that additional cats are still at the home, and efforts are ongoing to safely recover them.

The situation remains under investigation and no other details have been or will be released at this time.

Michigan State Police, Sault Tribal Police, Eva Burrell Animal Shelter, Thompson Veterinary Clinic, and the LMAS District Health Department assisted in the investigation.

Read more about the care Eva Burrell Animal Shelter is providing to the cats in our story from last week.

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