Alleged cat hoarder defends lifestyle, disputes investigators claims

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

WITTMANN, Ariz. -- An 81-year-old woman from Wittmann is free from the Maricopa County Jail after her third arrest for alleged animal cruelty and neglect.

Lucienne Touboul told 3TV's Steve Ryan on Thursday why she doesn't think she should go back to jail.

Touboul was arrested by Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies, who also seized 64 cats from her home.

Investigators said several of the cats were malnourished, not vaccinated, and ill.

When asked if her cats are healthy, Touboul responded by saying, "Yes, they're very nice cats. I do everything for them. They're my life."

However, Touboul was court-ordered in 2007 to not keep pets.

Then, during a second arrest in 2010, deputies found nine dead cats in her freezer.

Investigators said she told them that she makes feline stew.

Touboul said she doesn't eat cats.

"They died, and I have a man who comes and cleans my house every Saturday. I put them in the freezer for him. He buries them," explained Touboul.

Touboul's cats are in the custody of Maricopa County officials for now.

"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, as she explained her encounter at Touboul's house.

It'll be up to a judge whether she gets them back, and what potential penalties she could face if convicted.