Demand Harsh Sentence for Neglectful Cat Hoarder


Target: Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

Goal: Demand that a cat hoarder receives the maximum sentence for animal cruelty

Earlier this month, police found 79 cats inside a home in Gilbert, Arizona which had recently been sold at auction. With help from the Arizona Humane Society and Maricopa County Animal Care, authorities removed the animals from the home, but so far at least one cat has had to be euthanized due to its poor condition.

Jean Whitaker, the former-owner of the home who was charged with animal cruelty, signed the cats over to authorities, who will ensure that they receive veterinary care. According to, a local news agency, a two-week-old kitten is currently fighting for his life. Melissa Gable, a representative from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, said “The conditions were not good. The cats are not social at all. They are very scared. They’ve been through a lot so we are giving them some quiet time to let them relax and chill out.”

Neighbors explained that Whitaker didn’t seem to realize that she was hurting the cats by having so many in her home. “She just seemed to be so tunnel vision on taking care of the cats but I said ‘You’re not taking care of the cats. They’re breeding rampantly and you can’t take care of them. They’re dying, they’re sick, they have clumps of hair hanging out,’” said one neighbor.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), hoarding is very dangerous the animals involved. A statement on PETA’s website explains, “Every hoarder’s behavior translates into severe, even fatal, neglect for animals in their custody. Overcrowded and filthy conditions make for easy transmission of worms, fleas, mange, ear mites, upper respiratory infections, parvo, distemper, and other diseases and can lead to feces-matted coats and urine burns.”

Animal Hoarding is a psychological disorder that will continue to develop if it is not treated. By signing the petition below, you will encourage Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to sentence
Jean Whitaker to the maximum sentence associated with animal cruelty in Arizona of six months in prison, during which she can receive treatment for the disorder of hoarding.


Dear Mr. Montgomery,

I was shocked to learn Gilbert, Arizona resident Jean Whitaker had been hoarding 79 cats in her home. Hoarding is a very dangerous situation for the cats and humans involved. So far, at least one cat has been euthanized due to his condition and another kitten is fighting for his life.

Please do everything in your power to ensure that Ms. Whitaker receives the maximum sentence for animal cruelty of six months imprisonment, at which time she can receive treatment for the disorder of hoarding.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Adriano via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Emily March says:

    Hoarding is often a situation that got severely out of hand. People do not necessarily mean badly but can no longer cope in the end. What the lady needs most of all is help, and some sort of a rehab. The kittens need veterinary care and rehoming of course… Start with that.

  2. Rosemary Anderson says:

    Save these poor cats and find nice kind homes for them. The woman is just a backward moron with no sense. Shame on her

    • Hoarding is a psychological illness, not a sign of being a moron. It is difficult to be reasonable and have compassion for a person who hoards, but they just can’t help themselves unless they get treatment. “60 Minutes” had a segment about hoarding this past Sunday evening. You can probably watch it on CBS website if you are interested in becoming more educated about hoarding. I used to feel the same way you do until I learned more about it. :-))

  3. KatWrangler says:

    I hope this woman gets the help she needs.

    And as for the cats, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control needs to give the cats time to heal. It’s quite a job, but I personally know that Pima and Maricopa takes time to “rehab” fighting dogs, sometimes for months and lots of money, and re-homes them. Most animal controls and shelters do. Not so with cats …

    Cats suffer twice – once at the hoarders, and again at Animal Control where they’re so scared and confused, they’re labeled unadoptable, and killed.

  4. Obviously this woman had a problem. But she probably cared about the cats, and that was the reason she took them in, although she clearly lacked the will or the resources to properly care for them. I would suggest counseling her, and preventing her from owning any more animals, but would not necessarily recommend a terribly harsh legal sentence, especially if she is quite old. If they put her in prison for 6 months, is there any reason to expect that they will actually treat her for her hoarding disorder?

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