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Two Seaside women have been charged this morning by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in connection with a search last month by the SPCA for Monterey County and Seaside police that resulted in the seizure of 51 neglected cats, a deputy district attorney said. Donna Johnson and her mother, Maggie Johnson, were both handed three misdemeanor charges of animal neglect, Deputy District Attorney Marie Aronson said. Aronson said Donna Johnson was also charged with three felony counts of cruelty to animals because she was the person responsible for the cats.
The SPCA and Seaside police seized the 51 cats from two separate properties rented in Donna Johnson’s name on July 24, SPCA spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said. Three of the cats have died since the rescue, she said. Five cats were pregnant when they were seized from the Johnsons and were spayed in order to survive, Brookhouser said. At the time of the rescue, 113 deceased kittens were found in the two homes, Brookhouser said. In addition, workers found cremation boxes of 40 to 50 felines at the scene, all done professionally.
It is uncertain whether Donna and Maggie Johnson owned or stole the cats, Aronson said, but she said it is something that would come forward at trial. The surviving cats are improving, most living in two colony rooms with fresh air and natural light, Brookhouser said. Countless people have called, believing their cat may have been one that was seized from the Johnsons, but no matches have been made, Brookhouser said.
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