Pierced Kittens Violate Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws

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On Monday, a Pennsylvania appeals court upheld the groomer’s animal cruelty conviction in last year’s gothic-kitten case, ruling that “common sense” governs Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty law.

The groomer, Holly Crawford, pierced kittens’ ears, necks and tails to make them into “goth­iccats” she planned to sell on eBay for $100 each.  Her advertisement described kittens with barbell earrings, “submis­sion rings” through the scruff of their necks and tails that had been cut off and pierced at the stump. Crawford argued the statute was unconstitutionally vague and that county prosecutors did not produce sufficient evidence to convict her of animal cruelty.

The Superior Court rebuked Crawford’s appeal, ruling that “much of the law against animal cruelty can be summed up in the phrase ‘common sense,'” rather than by words barring specific acts, such as piercing a kitten’s ears.  To further seal the decision, renowned veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck testified and confirmed Crawford’s actions were torturous.

“Certainly, putting a rubber band around the tail of a kitten to cut off the circulation of blood to cause the tail to fall off or the action of a putting a large needle, used to inject cattle, into the ear or neck of a 3-pound kitten would qualify as atrocious,”  Judge Ford Elliot wrote. “The court is very mindful that animals are living creatures that feel pain and experience suffering.”

After the ruling, Crawford began to cry, maintaining she had not broken any specific law.  “I cannot believe they did this,” she said. Supporters of Crawford liken her actions to piercing an infant’s ears or clipping a dog’s ears or tail — both legal activities.

As part of her sentence handed down in April 2010, Crawford had to serve six months of house arrest and close her grooming shop, for at least two years as she completed probation. She hoped a successful appeal would allow her to reopen her business sooner, she said.

“This just shot everything down,” she said.

Video from last year, after Crawford was first convicted:

0 thoughts on “Pierced Kittens Violate Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws”

  1. Can’t read it…makes me too angry, but glad that the verdict stands…sick bastards is right!

  2. Not only did she mutilate the kittens she planned on selling them on EBay. EBay does not allow the sale of pets. If she wants to mutilate herslef – more power to her. She should never be allowed to work with animalsas a groomer or own animals as pets. House arrest is not a strong enough sentence. She will do it again.

  3. The thing that scares me is that this person doesn’t seem to understand that what she did was cruel.

  4. She is an idiot…she might not think it’s cruel because SHE enjoys it, but to a little bitty kitten? Oh my god. I really hope she is never allowed to groom again! I cannot imagine what she puts pets through if she doesn’t think this is cruelty!!!!! I have to watch out for my little miniature poodle at groomers, a bad groomer can burn your pet with the clippers, and then again with the blow dryer.

  5. “Common sense” governs a lot of laws. Unfortunately way too many people have NONE. While I’m glad the ruling still stands, more needs to be done to the sicko who did this and to help prevent others like her.

  6. And then she has the gall to start crying about how this conviction has “shot everything down” and how unfair it is? How about the pain the kittens went through when having their tails cropped slowly and without anesthesia before she pierced them with a needle used for cattle? She’s a psychopathic animal torturer and she’s crying for sympathy from us?

  7. And her defense that they allow the cropping of tails and ears doesn’t hold water either since there are movements to outlaw those outdated and cruel practices also. I actually gasped when I saw the kitten’s mutilated tail, it was such a shock.

  8. What bothers me is that she only has to keep her shop closed for two years. She should NOT be allowed to EVER open another “grooming” shop again, or be allowed near ANY animal EVER again.

  9. What the hell is wrong with this woman? I’m glad they applied the common sense rule but she seems to not understand the consequences of her actions at all. If she has any piercings herself she should know that they can be very painful, especially if they get infected which they tend to do. As for the tail thing, I am speechless. This ghastly person should never be allowed around animals!

  10. Maybe she shouuld have a large rubber band put on her arm and let her arm get gangrene and fall off- maybe then she will realize this is a painful experiance. It would be harder for her to try this again if she only had one arm and one stump.

  11. likening it to piercing an infant’s ears doesn’t make it better. I dont think that’s right to do either. they are their own person and making any changes to their body should be a choice they make, not a parent’s choice.

  12. They were right to refuse her appeal. Those poor kittens were not only physically abused, but also mentally. The pain that she put them through is absolutely unexcusable, period. I’m shocked and surprised that they would allow her to keep her business and reopen it. If I were the judge, she wouldn’t be allowed to have any sort of animal business (grooming shop, etc.) at all, let alone reopen it.

  13. Yup Kathleen. Thank you for saying so clearly what most of us are thinking! She needs ongoing supervision, preferably by a good psychiatrist or probation officer!

  14. Hopefully she will be continuously monitored, and the humane society and animal right’s groups/media will be on her tail– so-to-speak!

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