SPOKANE-- The Spokane Prosecutor’s Office charged a Hillyard woman with multiple counts of animal abuse Wednesday after Spokanimal raided her home months ago.
Officers removed 50 animals, some of them in very bad shape. They were taken to Spokanimal. Most of them were adopted, but some had to be euthanized.
Laneva Marsha Erskine’s family says the cruelty charges were not warranted, despite the large amount of feces and urine where the 30 cats and 20 dogs were kept. Officials say they were held in stacked cages inside dark rooms with little ventilation. Nine of the seized animals were in critical condition.
“I don’t believe that because I know she wasn’t cruel to her animals,” Erskine’s stepfather David Harris said. He lives across the street. “She was trying her best to take care of them.”
Harris says Erskine pick up some strays in the area to make sure they had food and water, and other people asked his stepdaughter to take care of their pets.
“I know some of them were in the basement, but they were in cages. I had been down there, and I couldn’t’ see that they were mistreated.”
To prosecute the case, the city must prove the nine animals suffered. It’s hired a veterinarian to serve as an expert witness.