Man froze cats to 'keep spirits' with him

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 suburban home.

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 years.

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

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