A mother-and-son duo from Pomona are scheduled to re-enter pleas Friday to felony animal abuse charges.
Prosecutors say Florence Handley and Don Miller failed to care for sick cats at the shelter they ran out of there Pomona home. They also kept 150 dead cats in homemade coffins in their garage, prosecutors say.
They are scheduled to be re-arraigned on the charges Friday morning in Pomona Superior Court.
Click the link below for past news stories on the duo’s case.
Oct. 3, 2008
Mother, son to stand trial
A mother and son accused of keeping more than 150 dead cats in the garage of their Pomona home must stand trial on felony animal-abuse charges, a judge ruled Thursday.
Florence Handley , 81, and Don Miller, 61, failed to properly care for cats at an animal shelter they ran out of their home in the 100 block of West Kingsley Avenue, prosecutors say.
At a preliminary hearing Thursday in Pomona Superior Court, testimony was heard from an official from the Inland Valley Humane Society and from a veterinarian who treated sick cats rescued from the home in June.
Judge Charles Horan rejected requests from Handley and Miller’s attorneys that the animal-abuse charges be reduced to misdemeanors.
Handley and Miller must next appear in court on Oct. 21.
86 cats found in dirty home
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) – Friday, June 13, 2008
Author: Wes Woods II and Jannise Johnson, Staff Writers
POMONA – Animal-control officers rescued 86 cats and found the bodies of 155 others sealed in homemade caskets at a Kingsley Avenue property Thursday afternoon.
Five of the animals were in such poor condition that they were euthanized, Humane Society supervisor Brian Sampson said Friday.
Valley Humane Society found the caskets, closed with sealant, in a garage on the property, Sampson said.
The owner, Florence Handley , 81, and her son Don Handley , 62, were cited for animal cruelty, Sampson said.
Florence Handley has run a cat-adoption service on her property for the past several years and has passed her yearly inspections. However, humane officers noticed the outdoor kennel was dirty during the latest inspection this week.
Those conditions led them to obtain a search warrant for the inside of the property, where they found unsanitary conditions and sick animals, Sampson said.
The last adoption there was in February, he said.
Florence Handley said Friday the main reason for the unsanitary conditions was that a tree branch fell outside near the kennels and scared her cats.
“Sometimes when they get terrified, especially with a branch falling on a roof inside their house, they just poop all over,” Handley said.
Handley does not believe she is an animal hoarder or cruel to them.
“At 81, I have a criminal offense? I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, I just like to take care of kitties, doggies and a rabbit or two,” Handley said inside her Victorian-style residence Friday.
Handley said she and others have spent at least $700 per month on food and $330 on neutering and spaying animals as they come in.
She said the reason she kept the dead animals on her property was that “in Pomona it’s against the law to bury animals or people in the ground.”
The pine boxes the animals were kept in, Handley said, were in a garage and sealed with sealant, and the animals were put in pesticide so insects couldn’t crawl through.
“They thought that was cruel,” Handley said. “But it’s OK to put grandmother’s ashes on the mantel, isn’t it?”
The animals, which were not adopted, died natural deaths, Handley said.
“We don’t believe in killing things,” Handley said.
Handley said the Humane Society should have called or sent a letter before they visited to clean up the property.
A disposal company took away the cat coffins on Friday.