LOS ANGLES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed multiple criminal counts against an Arleta woman and her boyfriend for allegedly hoarding more than 90 dogs, some with life threatening illnesses, inside her San Fernando Valley home. The couple was allegedly taking dogs out of other shelters, and soliciting donations from their care.
“Hoarding animals is inhumane and totally repugnant,” said Feuer. “This case is part of our continuing and commitment to stop animal cruelty and hold those responsible accountable.” This is the third animal cruelty case filed by Feuer in the last few weeks.
Christianna Billman Hartwell Coppola, 39, and her boyfriend George Katcher, 39, were each charged with three counts of animal cruelty and three counts of animal neglect. If convicted, each could face up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines on each count.
“Los Angeles Animal Services is a Department that wears many hats from protecting and re-homing the most fantastic companion animals ever, to responding to wildlife calls, to serving on the front lines in disasters, to dangerous rescues that involve swift water or repelling down cliffs, to providing safety and protection to people and animals in danger,” said Department of Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette. “We are especially pleased to partner with the City Attorney's Office to help bring justice in cases like the one before us today.”
In July, 2014 the Department of Animal Services officers responded to neighbor complaints of several animals with poor health and living conditions and foul odors from Copolla’s property. Throughout the house, animals were allegedly stacked in cages with a large amount of feces and urine and inadequate food and water. Towels for bedding were soaked with urine and Defendant Coppola herself was allegedly covered in animal feces when Officers responded to her residence. Officers allegedly could smell the foul odors from over 100 feet away. Officers took 93 dogs into custody from the property, including some with life threatening illnesses such as heartworm, painful open ulcers, and sarcoptic mange. Many dogs had highly contagious illnesses such as mange, intestinal parasites, upper respiratory infections, and heartworm. Several dogs were also emaciated and almost all were living in filth from accumulated feces and urine.
The case is being prosecuted by Melissa Hilario Sanchez of the City Attorney’s Animal Protection Unit. Arraignment is scheduled in Department M of the San Fernando Courthouse on December 11, 2014.
The filing against Coppola and Katcher follow two animal cruelty cases filed by City Attorney Feuer in October 2014. Corey Deborah Carnegie, 50, was charged with animal cruelty and animal neglect after officers found 32 dogs being kept at a two bedroom, 1680 square foot, home in Lake Balboa. Many of the animals appeared to have skin conditions, flea infestation, fecal matter matted in their paws and fur as well as a strong smell of urine. It is alleged that the home was in extremely unsanitary conditions with an overwhelming odor and presence of urine and fecal matter throughout that made it difficult for officers to breathe.
In a separate case, three criminal counts of animal neglect were filed against Georgeanne Leong, 54, for allegedly keeping 249 chickens, 21 ducks and four Guinea pigs inside her 1,400 square-foot home in Sherman Oaks. Investigators allege they found several dead animals as well as excessive bird excrement and feathers throughout the home.