By Brian Bloom
A Bartlett family of four face charges for aggravated animal cruelty in the death of four cats left stranded in a vacant house.
Robert Massie, 56 and his wife, 49-year old Teresa Massie, along with daughters Emma, 19, and Caitlin, 21, were charged in the death of the cats left in a vacant house at 3129 Marr Cove.
The Massies allegedly moved out of the home in October leaving the animals behind.
A $5,000 bond for each family member was set Bartlett Municipal Court Judge Freeman Marr after a Friday court appearance.
According to Bartlett Police an investigation into the incident found that the family “did act in a depraved and sadistic manner, failing to provide food and water to four cats” the family owned and who resided in their residence, resulting in the death of the animals.
Mike Howard, a neighbor to the Massie’s, discovered the dead animals while checking on the vacant home. According to reports, Howard saw a dead cat on the floor and noticed animal feces covering the entire floor and furniture.
On March 6 police acquired a search warrant and discovered the four deceased domestic cats throughout the residence. Police noted that feces covered the entire floor and furniture throughout the residence with no water for the animals.
The City of Bartlett Water Department noted water had been disconnected to the house on Feb. 20 for non payment of a bill that exceeded $1,000.
Dr. Wade Bowers at the Bartlett Animal Shelter determined the cats died of complications from severe dehydration.
All four defendants acknowledged the existence of the cats and noted they would periodically go back to the home to check the mail. Daughters Emma and Caitlin claimed they would bring the cats water every two or three weeks but the parents statements to the police contradicted that claim.