Casper Dog & Cat Hoarder to Pay $70,500; Have No Animal Contact
A Casper Municipal Court judge on Thursday ordered a woman convicted of hoarding scores of sickly and filth-covered animals to pay more than $70,500 in fines and restitution, and banned her from any contact with animals.
Deanne Gray heard that and other terms of her sentence for 79 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty-related crimes from an outraged Judge Cally Lund, who was a former prosecutor.
"This is one of the most disgusting and offensive things I've ever seen," Lund said.
She referred to the pictures shown earlier by Assistant City Attorney Zak Szekely of the rescue at Gray's house in the 1200 block of West 23rd Street in July where animals, including one whose uterus was rotted from breeding, wandered in their own feces and were often unfed.
Lund also referred to the efforts of Metro Animal Services and Casper police who had to wear hazmat suits before entering Gray's house, the transferring of animals from Metro to foster animal caretakers so Metro could accommodate the rescues, and the treatment of the animals and the efforts to adopt them.
"This is shameful," she said.
Because Gray said she lives on a small fixed income, Lund said she would be creative in the sentence of $59,250 in fines.
To pay the $750 fine -- the maximum for a misdemeanor -- for the animal waste conviction, Lund converted that fine to community service by ordering her to provide one bag of Purina Pro Plan dog food plus $16.62 in cash to the court each month beginning Dec. 15 and ending in November 2021.
Lund ordered her to pay $48,750 for the 65 convictions of cruelty to animals, plus $9,750 for the 13 counts of failure to remove dead animals. Those $50-per-month payments would begin after November 2021.
The judge also ordered Gray to pay court costs, restitution to Metro and the police department, veterinarian bills, and other costs bringing the total to $70,583.28.
Lund deemed Gray as a "reckless pet owner" according to the Casper animal ordinance and banned her from owning, possessing and caring for animals unless she visits someone with animals.
For her part, Gray still maintained her innocence after Lund announced the terms of restitution. "I didn't know I was doing anything of this nature to be wrong," she said.
Gray said she was disabled, and to prove her point brought medical records and the pins used during her treatment that enabled her to walk.
Szekely, however, scoffed at all of that.
He said she was able to move to care for the animals, and that she was able to drive to take the bred animals to customers.
"I don't care if she has a leg missing," Szekely said. "I wish I could jail her."
He later said municipal animal ordinances are not punishable by incarceration.
The case began July 11 after Metro Animal Services received reports of animals living in filthy conditions at Gray's house where authorities found dogs, cats and about 10 birds living in squalor.
Many of the animals were put up for adoption. The exotic birds were transferred to a shelter in Colorado.
Gray was charged and pleaded not guilty. Her bench trial was scheduled for Sept. 16, but Lund rescheduled it to Oct. 8 after Gray said she was not prepared and did not not have an attorney.
Gray didn't have an attorney at the second trial, either, but she said she was ready to proceed. She did not call any witnesses nor did she testify on her own behalf.
During the trial, Metro officer Michelle Peters recounted her years of experience dealing with animals in bad situations, but recalled nothing like this. "It was the most horrible example I've ever seen."