LAKE STATION — About a week after a Lake Station woman purchased a cat from what she thought was Lucky’s Legacy, the woman’s daughter became ill along with the family’s other pets after interacting with the furry animal.
The woman’s December report to police along with another complaint led detectives to Rachel Cundiff, 33, of Lake Station. She was charged Thursday with forgery, a Level 6 felony, and abandonment or neglect of an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.
When police searched Cundiff’s home on Jan. 21, they found 72 cats, four dogs and a raccoon. According to court records, some of the animals were later euthanized by a doctor who works for the Hobart Humane Society, because the animals’ health problems were too severe.
The Hobart Humane Society referred all questions about the status of the animals to the Lake Station Animal Control. Officials from the city’s animal control department did not immediately return a call for comment.
The woman who made the complaint to police in December told them she thought she purchased the cat from Lucky’s Legacy. However, when she contacted them to tell them about the health problems, she was told that Cundiff stopped working with them in April 2015, according to the affidavit.
The cat she bought, Inferno, was later diagnosed with ringworm and an upper respiratory infection. A doctor recommended Inferno be put down, but it was unclear from the affidavit what happened to the cat.
Another woman told police she adopted on Dec. 24 a kitten from Cundiff, but that cat was also later diagnosed with ringworm and an upper respiratory infection, according to the affidavit. The kitten was euthanized because of its health problems.
When questioned by police, Cundiff told detectives she was still using Lucky’s Legacy paperwork, but she had crossed off their name from applications, according to the affidavit. She said she was too busy to create her own paperwork.
Lucky’s Legacy in late December posted on Facebook a warning to its customers about people who were using their paperwork, though they were not affiliated with the shelter.
Cundiff estimated she had 30 cats, some which were described as feral, in her home. According to the affidavit, she had also at some point rescued the raccoon.
A warrant was issued for Cundiff’s arrest this week, but she was not in custody as of Thursday.