Two people involved with the Cat Purr Sanctuary in Bedford appeared in Trimble County District Court on Tuesday morning facing more than three dozen charges of animal cruelty.
Ronald Howdeshell, 46, and Constance Souza, 67, both of Bedford, entered pleas of not guilty to 39 counts each of animal cruelty in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Howdeshell and Souza were cited April 16 by Trimble County Animal Control.
Trimble County Animal Control Officer Russell Spaulding said in the citations that 25 cats were found to be in bad condition with possible neglect, no healthcare and lack of food, water and a clean living area last month.
An additional 14 cats were found on the property by animal control officers when serving the citations last month, the citations said.
According to the Cat Purr Sanctuary website, the non-profit location was founded in 2004 as a no-kill shelter for homeless and feral cats. The sanctuary is considered a long-term care facility for cats.
Spaulding noted that county animal control had been working with Howdeshell, who lives at the same address as the sanctuary, for about a year before issuing the citation.
Souza, the owner of Cat Purr Sanctuary, also faces charges for neglect of the animals, no healthcare and a lack of food, water and a clean living space, the citation said.
During the arraignment hearing, District Court Judge Diana Wheeler set another court appearance for Howdeshell and Souza on May 27.