Hoarder in Million-Dollar Home Pleads Guilty
Updated on July 17, 2009
Wanda Oughton pleaded guilty to one criminal count of animal cruelty and was ordered to pay over $35,000 in restitution and fines.
Her house reportedly passed a recent health inspection, the damage
having been repaired by Ms. Oughton. Judge Philip Maenza ordered
inspection rights for humane agents, and is allowing Ms. Oughton to
have up to 6 cats in her possession.
(Morris County, NJ) Illustrating that the roots of animal hoarding are psychological and not financial, approximately 150 cats were discovered
in March 2009 at Wanda Oughton’s million-dollar home in Chester
Township. Ms. Oughton is now facing over 90 criminal charges of animal
cruelty related to animal hoarding. The cats were allegedly living in deplorable conditions
and the house, despite its value on paper, may be condemned. The New
Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized over 20
cats in the initial raid, and was later able to successfully negotiate
for the relinquishment of the remaining cats, with Oughton agreeing to
pay for their cost of care during their recovery.
What You Can Do To Help
send letters to your state legislators encouraging them to consider
ALDF’s First Strike and You’re Out law. You may note concern for the
prevalence of animal hoarding and how important it is that all local
agencies be well-educated on the subject. Cooperative efforts are
crucial to meaningful animal hoarding interventions – not only for the
sake of the animals tied to current cases, but to prevent future
suffering (not to mention the drain on community resources) as the
recidivism rate among animal hoarders nears 100%.