- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

EAST ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — A woman who founded a “no-kill” animal shelter was charged with health-code and animal-welfare violations after 200 dead cats were discovered rotting in garbage bags in her back yard.

Marlene Kess, who has built a reputation in Manhattan as a caretaker of homeless and dying cats, had 48 cats inside her house, including 38 in one room, authorities said.

In the back, 200 vermin-infested cat corpses were stuffed into garbage bags and apparently were going to be buried in a large hole that had been dug, said an official with the state’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The cats were discovered after neighbors complained about the stench.

“Oh my God, it was awful,” said Michael Fowler of the Associated Humane Societies. “The smell was horrible.”

Miss Kess, 56, is the founder and executive director of KittyKind, which runs one of New York’s few no-kill shelters.

She said the cats died of natural causes. State SPCA spokesman Matt Stanton told the Star-Ledger of Newark that an investigation is “ongoing.”

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