Jury Renders Quick Verdict in Liberty Cat Case

Posted on: 6:59 am, November 5, 2012, by and , updated on: 09:58pm, November 5, 2012

LIBERTY, Mo. — A Liberty jury rendered a quick verdict in a case that accused a woman of owning too many cats. The jury found her guilty. She is expected to be sentenced Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors said Anne Betancourt was breaking the law, but Betancourt claimed that she was just helping to cut down on the feral cat population in Liberty.

Betancourt was charged with owning 12 cats — the limit is four in Liberty. But Betancourt said she only owned four cats, and was instead trapping the feral cat population living in the woods near her home, taking them to a shelter to be spayed and neutered and then re-releasing them back into the woods.

Betancourt said that she is upset that her efforts to control the wild cat population near her home resulted in a trial.

“These aren’t my cats,” said Betancourt. “I’m just spaying and neutering them, otherwise there would be 100 cats in this area. I don’t want that either.”

Authorities said they are simply enforcing the law — currently, Liberty traps and then euthanizes wild cats. Betancourt said that by taking her case to trial, she might be able to change the law.

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