General Crime

* LaPreda Thomas Oakland women sentenced today to five years’ probation for abuse to cats and kittens

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An Oakland woman accused of hurting more than 15 cats and kittens over a three-year period was sentenced today to five years’ probation, including one year in a residential treatment center for substance abuse and mental health issues.LaPreda Thomas, 34, who was arrested last October, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony animal cruelty in February.

Oakland Animal Services Director Megan Webb said authorities first noticed Thomas in 2006, when she was found on numerous occasions with cats or kittens she claimed to have rescued but that had serious and unusual injuries, including multiple broken limbs, puncture wounds, plucked-out eyes and claws and toes that were crudely cut off.In 2007, animal services seized a cluster of kittens from Thomas’ home that had been left in a cage in the sun with no water, according to Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason.

Two of those kittens each had a front leg that was completely broken in half in almost identical locations, he said.Other cats she owned had their claws cut off, sometimes with portions of the toes removed, according to Thomason.Animal Services learned last year that Thomas was on probation for burglary, which meant they could search her residence.

Her home was searched in July and September, both of which turned up severely injured kittens or cats, Thomason said.All of the surviving cats are now healing and safe.The Montclair Veterinary Clinic is caring for those felines, he said, and all are recovering.In addition to placing Thomas on five years’ probation, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson ordered her to help pay for the costs of treating the cats and kittens that she injured.

Webb said, “I am very pleased that she is getting treatment for her mental illness, which will address why she did it.”Webb said one of her priorities is to prosecute serious cases of animal abuse and neglect.”Animal abuse is a crime and should be treated as such,” she said.

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