Vt. sisters plead guilty to animal cruelty - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. sisters plead guilty to animal cruelty

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

"We came today hoping that we would get the animals surrendered to us and that happened. And we are very satisfied from that as a result," said Gretchen Goodman of the Rutland County Humane Society.

Goodman says she is glad to see progress in one of the more severe animal hoarding cases she has seen.

"Our bottom line is always we need to relieve the suffering, and this was the outcome we had hoped for," Goodman said.

Sisters Eileen, Linda and Caroline Generess all pleaded guilty to two counts each of animal cruelty, after 55 cats were seized from the mobile home they shared in North Clarendon. The Rutland County Sheriff's Department says it was one of the worst animal hoarding situations they have seen. Investigators say animal feces and urine covered the walls and beds of the trailer and many of the cats were gravely ill. Since the seizure, 20 of the cats were in such poor health they were put down or died.

The sisters could face up to a year in prison, but in court on Wednesday, their sentencing was deferred four years so they could seek mental treatment immediately. The state worries that if the Generess sisters don't receive help, the hoarding will continue.

"I mean what we see in hoarding cases is that it does happen again," Goodman said.

Goodman says sometimes in these hoarding situations, people can't come to terms with or don't even realize the animal abuse that is taking place.

"The intent to harm these animals wasn't there or they didn't understand that was happening-- I really do believe that," Goodman said. "So, I think it is important that they get treatment and I am glad that was a part of the agreement."

The sisters were also ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution to the Humane Society. As for the cats, Goodman says they have made a few health improvements with the surviving cats, but many are suffering from feline leukemia and FIV, neither of which have a cure.

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