The Pierce County Prosecutor's office has charged 25-year-old Rachel Dudley with two counts of first-degree animal cruelty after her two kittens were found inside her Tacoma apartment without access to food or water. By the time animal control officers discovered the scene, one of the kittens was already dead, and the second had to be euthanized two days later because of the alleged neglect.
More from charging documents:
The kittens were taken to the Humane Society where a treating veterinarian determined that the live kitten was emaciated with a body condition score of 1. The kitten was listless with severe loss of abdominal fat. The kitten's skin was extremely fragile likely associated with severe dehydration and starvation.
The manager of the apartment where Dudley resided - located at 3525 S Orchard Street in Tacoma - tells authorities that on March 28 she conducted an occupancy check of the residence, where two live and meowing kittens were found. The manager says she contacted Dudley, who she says "had not been at the apartment for quite some time," and asked her to take care of the situation. Dudley reportedly told the apartment manager that she would come by and handle the kittens.
However, according to Pierce County prosecutors on April 6 the apartment manager and a maintenance worker again entered Dudley's apartment to check on the fire extinguisher. Once inside they tell authorities they found one of the kittens deceased, and the other "emaciated and staggered towards them," according to charging documents. A pamphlet, which the apartment manager had apparently placed on the door when she first discovered the neglected kittens, was in the same spot. A bag of dry cat food was located by the maintenance worker, who attempted to feed the kitten, but it was too little too late.
Both kittens were taken to the humane society, where a veterinarian determined both had a body condition score of 1 - the worst possible designation. The veterinarian determined the deceased kitten was found with severe muscle wasting and virtually no subcutaneous fat.
More from charging documents:
The veterinarian determined that the kitten suffered from a significant upper respiratory infection causing severe ocular pain (discharge from under eyelid) but the cause of death was chronic starvation.
According to charging documents, when animal control officers contacted Dudley she reported having last been at the apartment on March 6 -7, three weeks before the apartment's manager first discovered the kittens, and a full month before one of the kittens was found dead and the other was found so emaciated it had to be euthanized.
Most gut-wrenching, authorities say Dudley, who was staying with her mother according to charging documents, told authorities that she'd been going through a bad breakup and hadn't thought about the kittens. When asked how she thought the kittens died, charging documents indicate she responded: "They probably starved to death."
Dudley is set to be arraigned Friday. In a press release announcing the charges, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says, "Animal cruelty is a particularly sad and offensive crime. We vigorously prosecute these crimes just as we do violent crimes against persons."
Find charging documents filed in the case on the following page ...