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jhogan@postregister.com

A Rigby woman has been charged with cruelty to animals after police found 14 dead cats on her property earlier this month.

A woman called police in September to report a terrible smell coming from the house occupied by her neighbor, Josie Bishop. The caller estimated 50 cats lived on the property, though most would be out hunting during the day.

Police visited the house on Sept. 24. Bishop was not home at the time, according to the probable cause affidavit.

During the first visit, officers found a dead kitten in a milk crate. Five kittens were seen roaming the property. The yard and flower bed were covered in cat feces. Police were able to see the backyard was filled with animal traps and garbage.

Police were not able to contact Bishop at her work. The officers issued a written warning to have the property cleaned up.

Police returned on Oct. 2 to find no evidence of any effort to clean up the property. The officers searched the backyard finding it overgrown. They saw 16 cats on the property. The officers reported the animals appeared to be feral, hissing at them or running away when they approached.

In total, police found 14 cat carcasses in varying states of decay.

Misdemeanor cruelty to animals is punishable with up to six months in jail. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 25 in the Jefferson County Courthouse.