NM couple pleads not guilty in cat hoarding case

Posted at: 11/22/2012 4:44 PM
By: The Associated Press

CHAPARRAL, N.M. (AP) - A Chaparral couple is facing dozens of charges after 52 diseased and underweight cats were found in their home earlier this year.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that 63-year-old Charles Gonnell and his wife, 54-year-old Sherrie Gonnell, pleaded not guilty during a recent court appearance. A trial date hasn't been set.

The couple is facing 118 counts, including 49 animal cruelty charges. The other counts involve a lack of permits and failing to prove vaccinations.

Over the spring and early summer, Dona Ana County officials had received complaints that unhealthy cats were seen around the couple's home.

Officials found 52 cats there in June, 21 of which had to be euthanized because of poor health.

Gonnell has said he doesn't think he did anything wrong by providing food and water for the stray cats.