February 21, 2004

The Death of Personal Responsibility

In February of 2002, police officers found a total of 32 cats locked in a trailer - left to starve. Eight did; 26 remained alive but in horrible shape. I remember this story and the acute emotional pain it caused me. Purposefully. Starving. Animals. Not turning them loose to fend for themselves when they were no longer useful, but locking them in a structure with no food, no water.

Today's Post-Dispatch reports that the "owner" of these cats was sentenced to probation and a restitution fee of $26,000 to cover the cost of the care of these animals incurred by the Humane Society.

The offender is named Natalie Peplin-Sobelman. Purported human being committed a horrific and evil act; nay, purported human being committed many, many horrific and evil acts. Here are excepts from the story provided today - there's more to it than the suffering of 32 cats.

In February 2002, police found 26 living and eight dead cats in a trailer owned by Peplin-Sobelman. Investigators said the animals were left unattended for weeks. Many survived by drinking melted snow that leaked through the trailer's roof and by eating one another. Three of the rescued cats later died from diseases associated with malnutrition.

Weeks later, police discovered an unlicensed dog-breeding facility operated by Peplin-Sobelman. There, authorities found 155 dogs and seized 30 animals suffering from ailments often associated with neglect.

Dan Paden, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the sentence "would be laughable if it was not so abhorrent."
I agree with Mr. Paden here. Yes, I agree with PETA. Probation. For this.
Natalie Peplin-Sobelman, 43, of Blackwell, Mo., was accused of purposefully starving dozens of cats and mistreating dogs at breeding facilities she had operated in northern St. Francois County, just south of the Jefferson County line. She appeared in a Farmington, Mo., courtroom on Friday after pleading guilty to one animal-abuse charge in exchange for prosecutors dropping six other felony charges and 55 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.
I'll take a misdemeanor for six felonies and 55 other misdemeanors, please Alex. The daily double? I'm revolted. More must be done, but it's not going to happen in the courtroom.

It happens with you and with me. Please consider adopting animals from shelters and bypassing breeders. Although there are reputable breeders, certainly, there are so many loving animals who do not have homes and are needlessly euthanized. Do not purchase animals from pet stores. This feeds the demand.

My wish is that the offender's picture were published so that it could be republished again and again in hopes that this person (I'm being generous here with that label) could be scowled at, scorned, every day of its life - in the grocery store, at the movie theater. I hope each animal it encounters scorns it as well. Bites the hand that won't feed it.

You can believe I'm firing a letter to the article's author.


Posted by hln at February 21, 2004 01:20 PM | Utter Disgust | TrackBack

These people are called animal hoarders and they are sick degenerates. They have a twisted mentality that makes them believe they are doing these animals a favor. I used to work with local shelters and rescue organizations and they would get cases such as this.If you are interested you can find a lot of info about the issue at
Thanks for bringing this issue up. It is horrific the level of pet abuse and neglect that occurs in our country. We are supposed to be better than that. The sad thing is that this woman will most likely start collecting them all over again.

Posted by: The Bull at February 22, 2004 09:22 PM

Sounds like a sickness. But in cases like this, I'd rather see stiff penalties and then random monitoring in the future instead of counseling.

Posted by: Ted at February 23, 2004 07:04 AM