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Sisters sentenced in cat hoarding case

A former Powell resident has been barred from owning any cats or other animals in connection with a summer hoarding case where officials seized 157 cats from a rural Powell home.

Last Tuesday, Maurielena “Mimi” Nesbit pleaded guilty to 14 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in Park County’s Circuit Court. As part of a plea agreement, another three counts of cruelty were dismissed.

Nesbit, 63, was sentenced to 140 days in jail, with all of that time suspended. She also was sentenced to seven years of unsupervised probation.

“The most important condition of the probation is that she cannot own or be the primary caregiver of any livestock or domestic animal,” said Deputy Park County Attorney Tim Blatt, who prosecuted the case.

Blatt said the county attorney’s office viewed this case differently than other cruelty cases — where jail time is typically ordered — because the owners thought they were doing good for the cats. The cats were being fed and watered, but were living in filth and most were suffering from various ailments when they were seized on Aug. 26, 2010, officials have said. Seventeen cats were put down due to either their poor health or unsocialized nature.

The cats were taken to a temporary shelter at the fairgrounds and most were taken to adoption agencies in Wyoming and Colorado.

Blatt said the primary goal in the criminal case has been “to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Three individuals had been living at the home on Lane 11 south of Powell — Mimi Nesbit, her husband Clifton Taylor, 79, and her twin sister, Michelle “Miki” Nesbit. Responding officials described the home as in unsanitary condition, with cat feces and urine covering much of the home.

In addition to being harmful for the animals, “the conditions probably weren’t doing them (the residents) any good either,” Blatt said.

Court documents filed in the case said Mimi Nesbit had been the one primarily responsible for hoarding the cats.

As a part of her sentence, Mimi Nesbit must pay around $3,600 in court fees, fines, assessments and restitution for some of the animals’ care, Blatt said.

The Humane Society of the United States, which helped capture, treat, feed, process and transport the many cats, did not seek reimbursement for its costs in the rescue operation.

Blatt said the Humane Society’s aid was crucial.

“We wouldn’t have had the funding to put in what the Humane Society did,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, Miki Nesbit pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of cruelty and was ordered to pay $190.

Blatt said the conditions in Miki Nesbit’s room were considerably better than the rest of the house. He also said she had veterinary records showing her five cats had been cared for, with the exception of one animal with respiratory and urinary infections.

Blatt said it was his understanding that the Nesbits have moved to Pennsylvania.

Taylor is facing 17 charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty. He has pleaded not guilty.

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1 comment

  • posted by Amanda Katz

    January 13, 2011 1:09 pm

    Many thanks go to the Humane Society of the United States for its intervention in this case. Of course these women meant well, but the situation had gotten completely out of control. It is very nice to see when the laws work and animals are helped. This is an example of how things should turn out. I hope the surviving cats all find great homes.

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