"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.