‘Dead Cats over Dead Cats.’ Judge Refuses to Lower Sentence for Hoarder

SMILEN, CHERYNCheryn Smilen was well-known among South Florida’s passionate pet-rescue community, feeding street cats every night, rescuing many with hopes of finding them forever homes.

Or so fellow pet rescuers thought. Instead, police and prosecutors said, Smilen hoarded dozens of cats inside a Northeast Miami-Dade efficiency, then left them there to starve. When the foul smell finally brought police officers to the home, they found a horrific scene.

All of the cats were emaciated and malnourished, most barely clinging to life. Bones and other material indicated some cats had eaten each other. Miami-Dade Detective Judy Webb, an animal-cruelty investigator, recalled seeing “dead cats over dead cats over dead cats.”

“These cats had been dead for months, not weeks. Some of them were in different stages of decomposition,” Webb told a Miami-Dade judge Wednesday during a key hearing in Smilen’s criminal case. “There’s no way she didn’t know this was happening.”

See unofficial arrest record here:  https://www.publicpolicerecord.com/florida/miami-jail/SMILEN_CHERYN/180127295

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