Animal neglect case ends with 47 citations
Woman to pay $1,000 in fines
September 22, 2010 | 08:46 AM
Williams Bay — When police found 47 cats living in a small village home earlier this year, they told the owner she wouldn't face charges if she turned over the cats and cooperated with police.
But Katie Grashel refused to provide all the information to police, which was revealed during a Saturday municipal court trial in Williams Bay.
Police cited Grashel with 47 sanitation violations, one for each cat in the house. She was fined $1,000 plus court costs.
After police searched her home, Grashel turned over her cats to the Lakeland Animal Shelter, but she didn't provide the correct information about her veterinarian. When asked to turn over veterinarian records, she refused.
"Ms. Grashel falsified information about the vet on the forms and when I found out who the real vet was, she contacted them and told them not to release the information to me," Walworth County Humane Officer Cindy Wrobel wrote in an e-mail.
The cats were seized March 25 after law enforcement officials raided the Stam Street home of Grashel and her boyfriend, Ronald Oehm. During the search, police were looking for child pornography, not animal neglect.
Since then, Oehm has been charged with possession of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines. His case is pending in Walworth County Circuit Court.
Earlier this year, Williams Bay Police Chief Robert Pruessing said Grashel and Oehm rented the home. They no longer live in Williams Bay.
Grashel told police that she breed and sold cats.
Many of the animals that were removed from Grashel's home suffered from Tritrichomonas Foetus, a parasite, which makes the cat sick.
Law enforcement officials said the cats were living in deplorable conditions. Williams Bay Lt. Laura Washer found the smell of the home overwhelming and at times "began to choke on the odor," according to her police report.
Earlier this year, Jill Stallings, San Jose, Calif., told the Regional News that she paid $650 for Lilac Siamese cat that she purchased from Grashel in December.
Stallings said her cat had the parasite.
It appears Grashel still is selling cats through her website, Amunra Cattery. However, on her site, she tells potential buyers she is careful in who she allows to breed cats.
"We do not sell breeding rights to anyone but reputable established breeders we know and trust or those that have been interviewed and are willing to be part of our mentorship!! Kittens are sold with a health guarantee, and spay/neuter contract," according to the website.
It also appears Grashel has called for stricter regulations for other cat breeders.
In September 2008, Grashel e-mailed another cat breeder whom may have mislabeled a species of cats on her website.
"Every time I see something like this, it makes me wonder if there shouldn't be more strict laws to regulate people producing cats," Grashel wrote in a September 2008 e-mail.