47ºF

Virginia woman convicted after 100 dead, sick animals found in home

(file)
(file) (KPRC via Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia woman accused of having more than 100 dead and sick animals in her home has been convicted of multiple animal cruelty charges.

Lisa Hokaj-Ross, 53, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 24 counts - one for each of the sick cats and one dog found in her house in March 2019, The Virginian Pilot reported.

She also agreed to undergo mental health treatment, not to own any pets for 10 years and to allow Animal Control officers to make unannounced visits to her home, among other restrictions, the newspaper said.

Animal Control officers executed a search warrant at Hokaj-Ross' Virginia Beach home last spring, where they had conducted similar searches and discovered dead and live animals in the past, according to court documents entered Tuesday.

In the most recent case, 23 cats had to be euthanized because they had a contagious virus, the documents said. Dozens of other dead animals, including kittens, squirrels, possums, rabbits and a duck were found in her garage.

In 2015, Hokaj-Ross was also accused of trying to break into a Virginia Beach Animal Control building to take cats, officials said at the time.

Her defense attorney said Tuesday that Hokaj-Ross "loves animals" and never intended to harm them.

She could face up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each count when sentenced in November.