Michelline Toulouse, 36, has been charged on nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty after more than 50 cats were found in her abandoned Florida apartment
An animal rescue worker who was fired after allegedly being caught stealing from a shelter has been charged with animal cruelty after more than 50 cats were found living in squalid conditions in her Florida apartment.
Michelline Toulouse, 36, of Sunrise, Florida, is facing nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
She has already been charged with criminal mischief and petty theft for allegedly stealing $300 from the Saving Sage Animal Rescue in Boulevard Gardens in May.
After the shelter fired her for the alleged theft, a former colleague went to her home to check on her and was stunned at the conditions she found.
In the house were more than 50 malnourished cats living in filthy and filthy conditions. At least 10 were already dead, according to WPLG.
Video footage showed the inside of the Toulouse house, filled with feces and on the floor and counters and urine in the water bowls.
The cats were also found to be malnourished, starving and dehydrated, and some cats were living in the walls.
The cats were said to have been abandoned by Toulouse weeks before they were found by police and some of them needed medical attention. CBS4Miami reported earlier this year.
She left the cats before the cats were found in her home by the police. Toulouse — who could face criminal charges for animal cruelty — left the cats in their own filth. Police found the animals with urine in their water bowls and feces on the floors and counters
More than 50 cats were removed from their homes, some in need of medical attention
Gina Vlasek, who runs the Saving Sage Animal Rescue, said Toulouse had often traveled to “animal collection houses” to rescue cats, one such visit just before discovering her own home.
Saving Sage released a statement about her former volunteer saying the organization was “sad but relieved” at her arrest and hopes she will be “held accountable for her crimes.”
“It is unimaginable that a fellow rescuer would be responsible for such horrors,” the statement said.
The animals were taken to foster care by Saving Sage, the animal rescue group that Toulouse volunteered at
The house was covered in dirt and it is estimated that she left the animals for months
The cats were found with urine in the bowls and in habitable conditions. Toulouse also had her own animal rescue called Love Is Feral
Toulouse also ran her own rescue operation, called Love Is Feral, which helped “capture, rehabilitate and relocate homeless cats in South Florida.”
Toulouse is also charged with theft after she was allegedly caught on surveillance footage stealing the animal rescue group’s money.
Her boyfriend, Jerome Junior Vaughn, should also be charged News 7 Miami.
All 50 states have animal cruelty laws that can range from felony to misdemeanor.
Toulouse is also charged with petty theft and criminal misdemeanor after allegedly stealing $300 from the rescue with her boyfriend
Florida became the first state to have an animal cruelty registry called Dexter’s Law, according to the Florida Bar.
Florida requires those on the list to update their head-and-shoulders photo and address and pay a $50 per year fine.
It is a first-degree felony if someone fails to register, update their address, or pay the fee.