2 city houses with dead cats investigated
Share with others:
Two Pittsburgh couples are under investigation for separate cases where dead cats were found in their houses.
On the North Side last week, authorities discovered a house overrun with live and some dead cats when firefighters went to extinguish a fire that injured a 2-year-old boy.
Yesterday, a neighbor led police to a Carrick house whose owners lost it to foreclosure. Inside, police and animal control officers found 10 dead cats, including nine that were locked in a cold, damp basement with no food or water.
"It was extremely heartbreaking," said police Officer Christine Luffey, who frequently works with animal control and rescue officials to investigate cruelty cases.
The 2-year-old boy suffered serious burns Oct. 15 when a gas space heater fell on him and he was burned at a house in the 3000 block of Geyer Avenue in Marshall-Shadeland.
The boy still is being treated in the burn unit at UPMC Mercy. His condition was not available.
His parents, Carl Broerman, 33, and Jessica Burrell, 23, have lost custody of the child and his 3-year-old sister.
Authorities still were chasing down the dozens of cats that had been living in that home.
Nineteen more cats and kittens were captured today from Geyer Avenue, Officer Luffey said.
They all were being taken to the Animal Friends shelter for examinations, inoculations and other care.
Mr. Broerman and Ms. Burrell have been charged with reckless endangerment and two counts of child endangerment regarding their children.
They could also face charges in connection with the two carcasses found at the residence today and the 19 live cats recovered from the residence.
There was no saving the animals found yesterday in an abandoned home in the 100 block of Birmingham Avenue in Carrick.
Officer Luffey and Humane Officer Kathy Hecker used a search warrant to open the house, where they found the dead cats where they had been trapped in the basement.
Owners of the house, Randy and Jacqueline Gilbert, lost the home several months ago.
A neighbor recently has complained about several cats, believed to have been from the Gilbert house, running through the Carrick streets. The same neighbor reported yesterday that cats were seen inside the house.
First Published October 21, 2009 2:40 pm