Animal-cruelty convictions of 'cat lady' upheld
The town’s attorney says the state Appeals Court decision to uphold animal-cruelty convictions of the so-called “cat lady” may make it easier for Plymouth prosecutors to seize a Great Dane that is in her care.
Heidi Erickson was given the “cat lady” moniker after Boston police found 60 dead cats and several live animals in bad condition in her feces-filled Beacon Hill apartment six years ago. Erickson eventually moved to Plymouth after her 2003 Boston convictions on six counts of animal cruelty.
In March, Plymouth police charged her with nine counts of animal cruelty after they seized 11 cats and the Great Dane from her Lothrop Street apartment.
Police returned the dog to Erickson after a veterinarian said it was in good health. Nine of the 11 live cats police took from her apartment in March were judged to be emaciated and in poor health. Two were healthy, but police have refused to return any of the cats and are trying to get the dog back for its own protection.
“It might make it easier to get the dog back,” Plymouth’s attorney, Leonard Kesten, said of the Appeals Court ruling. “It’s consistent with her behavior in Plymouth. We will certainly bring it to the court’s attention to demonstrate a pattern of behavior.”
Plymouth District Court Judge Rosemary Minehan rejected Erickson’s motion to have three cats returned, and Plymouth’s health agent has prohibited Erickson from having any animals at the apartment.
Erickson has filed numerous motions in federal court to get her cats back and to keep her dog, but Kesten says the motions have been denied.
“We’re preparing to file an enforcement order in Plymouth Superior Court to have the dog removed,” he said. “And we now have 10 live cats, and six frozen.”
One of the 11 Erickson cats died while giving birth to two stillborn kittens, despite heroic efforts to save her, Kesten said.
The bodies were frozen to preserve evidence and because a Boston judge previously ordered dead frozen cats returned to Erickson, who said she was cloning Persian cats.
In a ruling issued Thursday morning, the Appeals Court upheld the Boston convictions and denied Erickson’s request for a new trial.
According to Boston police, in addition to the dead and live cats, they found a dog, a Great Dane, in her apartment in 2003. The dog, which was severely emaciated and surrounded by feces when police found it, later died.
The Great Dane Erickson currently owns has been the focus of animal welfare officials. They fear for its well-being, given Erickson’s history.
Erickson is due back in court on the Plymouth charges on Tuesday.
Tamara Race may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.