Woman Sentenced In Cat Deaths

August 15, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

A 52-year-old Howard County woman, whose mother was sentenced to six months in jail for abusing cats, must serve a day in jail for each of the 74 cats that died.

Nese Icgoren, of the 7300 block of Swan Point Way in Columbia, told Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure on Friday that she couldn't get her 81-year mother, Ayten Icgoren, to properly care for a small family of cats, then failed to do anything after the felines multiplied to well over 100.

Neighbors had called authorities, complaining about an odor coming from the townhouse and bugs that infested their homes.

"I wish I were stronger, I wish I were more persistent [with my mother]," Nese Icgoren told Leasure. "I was raised to obey orders."

Leasure said she was prepared to give Icgoren a longer sentence in the Howard County detention center, possibly the same six-month sentence that her mother received in January. But after listening to Nese Icgoren, Leasure decided that the younger woman was less culpable than her mother, but said that a jail sentence would provide justice for the dead cats.

"These lives matter - every one of them," Leasure said.

Assistant State's Attorney Devora Pontell called Leasure's decision "a forward-thinking" term.

Icgoren, a former equestrian champion in her native Turkey, was also put on five years' probation after her sentence, ordered to undergo counseling in jail for what was described as a "dependent personality disorder" and told that the healthy cat she was allowed to keep must be neutered or spayed within 30 days of her release.

If she fails to follow the conditions of her probation, Leasure said, Icgoren faces up to 18 years in jail.

On the request of Icgoren's attorney, Leasure allowed Icgoren to have a week before reporting to the detention center.

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