Invercargill cat lady denies charges

An Invercargill woman believed to be keeping up to 37 cats inside her home has denied the two charges laid against her. 

The middle-aged woman appeared in the Invercargill District Court today and pleaded not guilty to failing to reduce the number of animals on her property to comply with an Invercargill City Council bylaw, and creating a nuisance under the Health Act, 1956.

The council started court proceedings last month after she refused to allow any of her cats to be removed and rehomed. A bylaw introduced in March requires urban homeowners to have no more than three cats.

The unusual case has received nationwide coverage.

The woman's counsel, Simon Claver, said his client opposed any in-court photographs or filming and did not want her name made public.

"I understand she does not want any media coverage at all,'' Judge Michael Turner said.

Mr Claver said she wanted her name to remain suppressed at least until the court had heard her arguments about why she believed suppression should continue.

Judge Turner suppressed her name until a hearing on Wednesday which will address whether her name should be made public, and whether requests by several media outlets to photograph or film her in court should be granted.

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