Stratford couple arrested for animal cruelty had 34 cats in house

STRATFORD -- In December, Stratford police received an anonymous call about cats roaming outside of a Sedgewick Avenue home. What they found inside was disturbing.

"They had 34 cats in the house and in various states of distress," said Stratford Police spokesman Capt. Frank Eannotti.

A husband and wife, Catherine and Fletcher Graham, both age 60, were charged with 34 counts of cruelty to animals as a result of lack of proper medical care.

Eannotti said,"Some were sick and ill in the house, things of that nature. Not all of them were spayed."

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And, the reason the couple gave for having so many cats?

"They just didn't realize how many cats were actually in the house at that point," said Eanotti. "And, it got out of control. There were cats that were freely roaming. But, the majority of them were in the house. And it took them (animal control) a period of probably two days to actually locate all of the cats."

Eannotti says police believe the couple did have a genuine concern for the cats.

"It's just very hard to care for that many animals. So, sometimes the best intentions, you know, go awry."

Failure to render proper care to animals, under Connecticut statutes, can lead to a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

All of the cats have been spayed and neutered and received the necessary vaccines. Many have already been adopted, but, those that remain are available for adoption through Stratford, West Haven and Woodbridge animal controls.