Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced to Six Months for Creating “Gothic Kittens”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 2:00pm

"Gothic Kitty" creator Holly Crawford has been sentenced to six months of house arrest for using a 14-gauge needle to pierce the ears, necks and tails of three kittens and then attempting to sell the maimed felines over the Internet. The 35-year-old Pennsylvania woman was further ordered to close her dog grooming business for at least two years. Despite opposition from concerned citizens, the judge ruled in favor of allowing Crawford to maintain guardianship over her other pets, including a dog, three cats and three snakes.

Crawford was initially charged after a tip led humane investigators and the state police to her home on December 17, 2008. Investigators found and seized three kittens wearing heavy piercing jewelry on their ears, necks and tails. At least one of the kittens had a thick elastic band wrapped around his tail to prevent blood flow, as a means of docking it.

Despite arguments that Crawford used sterile needles and surgical soap when piercing the kittens, a Luzerne County jury found her guilty of animal cruelty. Helping to seal the conviction was expert testimony from the ASPCA's leading forensics veterinarian, Dr. Melinda Merck, who testified that the kittens had been maimed and disfigured, had their hearing damaged, and could have died.

"I was very happy to work with the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office on this case of abuse," says Dr. Merck. "The idea of mutilating animals in such a way for profit is appalling, I am glad justice was served."

If you know of an animal who is being hurt, please report it. To report animal cruelty in New York City, call the ASPCA's tip line at (877) THE-ASPCA. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty elsewhere.

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hey bone head let me pierce you DA


People who are bobbing tails and clipping Doberman ears should fall into the same category as this woman.

Man from Modesto

Interesting they went after this woman. Is it cruelty to do it to humans? What about docking the ears of Dobermans, and lopping off their tails, too? I've always thought that is sick. This woman was not really doing anything many humans already do to themselves, and which is widely done in the animal world.
But, wait, that was my warm-up. No one complains when they take dogs to the vet and have their testicles cut off. That is extremely sick. And what about voice box mutilation so dogs can't bark?


really Brian m, whats wrong with piercing a pet? were you dropped on your head as a child? it is called: ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that all animal ( child abusers etc) abusers should get tortured and sent to the electric chair!


Only in the USA


people care more about the life of animals than of humans. America is so damn ASSED backwards.

Kerri L. Decell

Dr. Merck says it best. "mutilating animals ... for profit is appalling." Providing pets with what they naturally require to thrive makes them truly man and woman's best friends, not mutilation.

Kerri L. Decell

Dr. Merck says it best. "mutilating animals ... for profit is appalling." Providing pets with what they naturally require to thrive makes them truly man and woman's best friends, not mutilation.

Russell Carlton

Having grown up on a farm, I'm a bit baffled by this. I'm not condoning animal cruelty- I took great pride in giving my animals the best life I could afford to provide them. While I would agree piercing a kittens ears is unnecessary, it isn't a whole lot different than what farmers do to track animals via ear tags or what researchers do to track animals via gps tagging. Docking tails is a standard practice too among dog breeders. I've even seen cases where it was necessary. Castration of young male cows is often performed via banding. I guess, I am not seeing where this owner has crossed any lines that 1,000's of farmers and veterinarians don't cross on a daily basis.


This is cruelty and abuse. Why are the animals left in her "care". How many have died? The judge should also be investigated, either he is a sadistic, or not informed well enough to do his job, or too old to continue working.