Local woman punished for animal cruelty in cat hoarding case

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.
Aaron Krause
May 18, 2011


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.




It quite obvious this women does not have all her " dogs barkin". I doubt she meant to intentionally hurt these animal, but none the less they needed to be removed from her home. The work the Humane Soicety does is so important... BIG THANKS to the investigators on this case and I hope you all keep up on the probation stipulations and make regular visits to her home. From what I understand this IS NOT her first run in w/ hoarding.


Is the video necessary? Lets get on with the hanging.

rebel yeller

I really have to wonder how these cat overpopulation situations originate??? It's understandable that people often get lonely and end up getting a pet. In the case of an old person though I almost think they should sometimes require certification or "whatever" to make it legal for them to own a cat. I know it sounds stupid, but remember that cats come pre-programmed to eat people. At what number of cats a person owns, does the scale tip and make the owner now lower on the food chain? I think the woman in this article was lucky she wasn't eaten alive by being so outnumbered. Cat's make great house pets and I have my own 5 year old Mr. Scrump. He is awesome but sometimes his natural DNA takes over, (it's funny to watch when he'll jump up over 4ft spontaneously at the neck of my red head teen aged daughter). It's exactly like watching a cougar take down a zebra on a nature show, (strike at the neck). I personally believe every house cat at one time or another looks at their owner as like a tasty slab of meat (no matter how much they love their cat). I just think a story like the 90 cats is very sad, but also goofy when looked at in another perspective. Sorry to everyone for writing this long and probably stupid comment,,,,,also very sorry if I sounded at all like "swiss family".

Kottage Kat

@rebal Yeller, I have 4 all rescued 2 with special needs, I just feel that this woman was trying to be kind and with other issues going on went overboard. I have never known a cat to be as agressive as you describe. Guess mine lean to the lazy side. I am sure that without some wisdom and my lack of space I would be tempted to take in strays. Being a responsible cat owner is necessary to curb the population. Without the cooperation of the local Vets in offering a low cost spay and neuter option, I am afraid it can only get worse.


Just trying to be kind ? You have no idea what your talking about. This women has a history w/ hoarding.. so my suggestion is you keep to commenting on things you know something about.. prom photos and obituaries. Or better yet stop posting on EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE. Good lord women don't you have a life ????


Let me see, alive with hundreds more around me or dead. I choose alive, just saying. Who is more "crueler"?


The fact that the cats were too ill to be adopted shows exactly who was more cruel (even if her intentions were good.) On the other hand, the picture of this lady makes me so sad. She clearly has issues that need addressed.

swiss family

the over population of cats is a growing problem that really needs to be addressed....if we had any other animal taking over our neighborhoods, roaming freely in and out of our properties and every property around us, we would definitely do something about it...it is irresponsible to blame the vets" for over pricing a professional service that they provide, after all, they have had years , and years of schooling, and money on top of money to establish the profession that they are now a part of.. why would we expect them to provide a much needed service at reduced charges.. would we expect a Doctor to provide any service at reduced charges?? what about nurses? or lawyers? or judges?or police officers?? the list goes on and on.. all of these people have invested countless amounts of time and money to achieve their degrees, and practices, and deserve to be paid accordingly...

animals are very forgiving creatures, they will forgive you if you yell at them, or even hit them..I would have to wonder exactly why any animal would "go for your throat" especially a domesticated animal such as a dog or cat.. they are usually very in tune with their owners, and anyone who is closely associated with the owners.. I would question exactly what the "victim" who is having their throat attacked by such loving creatures has done or is doing to them to get such a reaction...something is defiantly not right in that situation..domestic dogs and cats are not Prone to attack their owners.. or to "eat people" as someone said..it is just not their nature... the big cats like lions are a different story, but in the evolution chain they are generations behind any domesticated pet...I would also question the statement that people would need certification to own a pet... as nice as that sounds.. my question has to be what do they need to have a child?? do you want more government intervention, or less??common sense has to kick in somewhere..

rebel yeller

For once swiss shut up, you were not at any meeting about this,so your ramblings are not even educated. By all you posts you have written, I have come to the conclusion that the mayor could do whatever she wanted and its ok with you. You dont know any facts, you twist what was said to try and make anyone that disagrees with you look wrong. Go back to making pizzas, because we really dont care what you have to say about anything. Better yet how about you get your nose out of the mayors lower posterior annex and get a breath of fresh air, looks like you may be sufficating.

Kottage Kat

@ DiamondGirl, Unknot your knickers, I am sorry I upset you. Perhaps "kind" was a poor choice of words, maybe out of control caring would have been better. Yes, she is a hoarder with a history of same. As I said in a previous post, some involvement by a social service agency to determine the cognative abilities of this women is necessary. I am a responsible pet owner, and I would have certainly advised the HCHS of the number and condition of the cats in this womans home, out of concern for the animals. By your response, some anger issues are present, and as this is a comments column, and I do that, I am sure that you will be angry quite often. God bless you and have a good weekend and enjoy the sunshine. kat;}