A Virginia woman who was found with more than 100 dead and sick animals in her home last year pleaded guilty Tuesday to multiple animal cruelty charges.
Lisa Hokaj-Ross, 53, stuffed most of the dead animals in freezers and in a large plastic storage container in her Virginia Beach garage, according to court documents obtained by The Virginian-Pilot.
Among the carcasses found on her property were cats, kittens, bunnies, squirrels, possums, a duck and a bird, authorities said. The Animal Control officers who executed a search warrant in her home in March 2019 also found a dead cat in the kitchen refrigerator and one in its freezer, the Pilot reported.
The only living animals were 23 sick cats that had to be euthanized and an ailing dog who was infested with fleas but survived, court records show.
Hokaj-Ross pleaded guilty to 24 counts of animal cruelty, one for each of the living animals, and agreed not to own any pets for at least 10 years and to allow Animal Control officers to make unannounced visits to her home, according to the Pilot.
She faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine when she’s sentenced in November.
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Defense attorney Bassel Khalaf stood by his client during Tuesday’s court appearance.
“This is a person who loves animals and who never intended to harm animals,” he reportedly told the court “This is a person who has spent thousands of dollars of her own money caring for animals.”
Hokaj-Ross was found with dead animals on her property on at least two occasions before 2019, the Pilot reported. She was also accused of trying to break into the city’s Animal Control to steal its cats in 2015.