Alleged cat hoarder tells deputies she eats 'Feline Stew'

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on May 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Updated Thursday, May 24 at 6:19 PM

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WARNING: Some viewers may find the videos and photos included in this story disturbing.

WITTMANN, Ariz. -- Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arrested an 81-year-old woman on Wednesday while investigating an animal cruelty case.

The woman, Lucienne Touboul, is facing 26 counts of animal neglect and cruelty charges.

"We went in there; our eyes are watering. Think about what that does if you have have an upper respiratory infection, where your sinuses are congested and your eyes on congested with conjunctivitis," said Nancy Bradley with the Arizona Humane Society.

"If they're testing positive for leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, some of these fatal diseases, they've all been exposed and we're going to have to make some hard decisions," explained Bradley.

This is not Touboul's first encounter with law enforcement over alleged animal crimes. She had an outstanding warrant from a previous animal cruelty case in June 2010.

At that time, deputies said they found nine frozen cats in Touboul's refrigerator which she admitted to using for a feline stew concoction.

While serving a search warrant on Wednesday, deputies had a veterinarian evaluate 64 cats.

Once the cats are treated they will be transferred to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Animal Safe House in the old First Avenue Jail.

Detectives say that this situation meets the threshold of an “animal hoarder.”

In a statement released to the media, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, in reference to the previous case involving Touboul, “I found myself thinking that in 50 years of law enforcement, I’ve never heard of a case quite like this where an animal lover presumably turns her much loved pets into stew.”

Over the past several years, Adult Protective Services, the Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society have had repeated contacts with Touboul.

She is currently in the process of being booked at the 4th Ave. jail.

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