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Local woman punished for animal cruelty in cat hoarding case

Aaron Krause • May 18, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Ruth Barnett will not go to jail for animal cruelty in connection with authorities finding about 90 cats in her Willard home, Norwalk Municipal Judge John Ridge has ruled. Most of the cats had to be destroyed.

However, Barnett, who pleaded no contest to multiple charges of animal cruelty, received five years probation, a $250 fine and several other sanctions.

Barnett, of 28 Spring St., must have no convictions during her probationary period and show proof of counseling by Dec. 16. She is not allowed to own, possess, or allow at her home more than three animals, other than the three dogs owned by her brother and registered to him. Barnett must also provide proof to the Huron County Humane Society that any animal living in her house has been spayed or neutered immediately upon her taking possession of the animal.

Barnett must also submit to a random inspection of her home by the Huron County dog warden or a Huron County Humane Society officer during her probation.

Barnett's attorney, James Joel Sitterly and Willard Law Director Scott Christophel did not return phone messages seeking comment.

A week ago, Ridge denied a motion by Sitterly to dismiss the case. The attorney said he filed the motion because the state could not produce evidence that most of the cats discovered in Barnett's home were euthanized.

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