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A Long Island couple faces multiple animal cruelty charges, among others, after abandoning more than two dozen cats in their home without food or water on the eve of their eviction -- and then calling 911 to falsely report that their landlord poisoned the felines.
James Grimm, Sr., 67, and Patricia Grimm, 64, leased a house in Franklin Square from an 84-year-old landlord back in March 2007 and began accumulating cats, which they didn't spay or neuter, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's office. At some point a year or two later, the Grimms fell behind on their rent and the landlord asked them to move out.
Rather than comply with the landlord's request, the Grimms just stopped paying rent entirely and refused to leave, the DA's office says. During that time, the number of cats in the home continued to increase, thanks to the glut of breeding opportunities.
In January, the landlord called police to ask for help in forcing the Grimms out. The day before the sheriff was to execute the eviction orders, James Grimm threatened to report the landlord to various government agencies and leave the cats behind if the eviction wasn't canceled, according to the DA.
On the eve of the scheduled eviction, the Grimms left the house, sealing the doors and windows with the cats still inside. When deputies arrived the next morning, they entered the home to find dozens of cats immersed in the putrid stench of their own urine and feces. The animals were left with no food or water and with overflowing litter boxes. In some cases, cats made homes in the ceiling and walls, which they also used as a litter box, police said.
The next day, James Grimm began calling 911, claiming that his former landlord poisoned his cats. Cops were sent to the house a few times to investigate the allegations, but found no dead felines, the DA says.
Eventually, the landlord and a helpful neighbor managed to trap all the cats and found organizations to take them in.
"When people abandon their pets, without a care, it’s more than just a shame—it’s against the law," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. "This couple left dozens of helpless animals locked in a house with no food, no water and no way to survive. They cruelly subjected these animals to a filthy environment and then compounded their crimes by falsely reporting incidents and utilizing valuable police resources."
The Grimms are each charged with 26 counts of abandonment of animals, 26 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance, and 26 counts of failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal. In addition, James Grimm faces charges of falsely reporting an incident and attempted coercion. He faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
Patricia Grimm faces up to a year in jail if convicted. They were released on their own recognizance and are due back in court Oct. 26. (Hide your cats 'til then.)