A self-proclaimed cat lover who stuffed 38 dead cats in his
freezer has admitted to animal cruelty.
Donald Cruickshank, 77, faced two charges after the SPCA
found him living in squalor with more than 50 cats in his
This week, Cruickshank pleaded guilty in the North Shore
District Court to failing to care for the animals and not
ensuring 22 of them received medical attention.
His friend Tatyana Kondratyeva, aged 48, who owned the cats,
was also charged but she has pleaded not guilty.
In December 2010, police officers alerted the SPCA after
noticing several unhealthy cats living in filthy conditions
at Cruickshank's Glenfield home.
SPCA inspectors said they were almost suffocated by a strong
smell of ammonia, food and faeces from 19 cats which were
running freely around the lounge and bedroom.
Another 17 were locked in cages with litter trays
overflowing, and another 23 were discovered in a fly-infested
locked unit downstairs.
During the inspection, 38 dead cats were discovered wrapped
in blood-stained newspaper and fabric bags beside food inside
two fridges and freezers.
Cruickshank told the inspectors he kept the dead cats so
their spirits would be with him forever. The surviving cats
were seized by the SPCA and have been in foster care for two
Cruickshank will be sentenced in February while his
co-accused, Kondratyeva, is also scheduled to appear in
February for a defended hearing.
- Chloe Johnson of Herald on Sunday