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Taylor Woman Charged With Poisoning Several Cats

August 24, 2018

A Taylor woman is accused of killing several cats after she laced her tenant’s yard with rat poison earlier this year.

Jennifer Oustrich, 49, 501 S. Main St., faces felony cruelty to animal charges, plus lesser counts, after her arrest Thursday, the culmination of an investigation borough police started last month.

Officers responded to a home on the 400 block of West Taylor Street on July 14 after a woman there, Carol Malone, reported finding poison in her neighbor’s backyard, including some along her property line. Officers found piles of rat poison mixed with dog or cat food in the neighboring yard. Malone also reported finding several dead cats in the area that week.

Police talked to Oustrich, who told them she had been having a “major problem” with stray cats getting in her tenant’s garbage and she placed the rat poison in pet food in the yard, according to court documents. Officers also pointed out that poison had been placed near the fence of a yard where four dogs live, to which Oustrich responded she has problems with dogs and cats getting into the yard and defecating, police said.

A tenant of Oustrich, Jonathan Celusniak, later told police the poison had been there for about three months and Oustrich told him she was using the poison to kill the feral cats and other stray animals in the area she believed were defecating in the yard and warned him to make sure his kids left the poison alone, according to court documents.

Police also noted Oustrich had also disregarded manufacturers’ instructions for using the poison, which warns the substance shouldn’t be placed where it could be easily ingested by non-target animals or children and should only be applied using tamper-resistant stations that would keep it away from dogs and children.

Police sent the bodies of four cats suspected to have died from ingesting poison in the yard to staff at an animal hospital at Cornell University, who agreed to perform a necropsy on the animals. Veterinarians determined one of the cats died from ingesting rat poison, police said. A vet at VCA Dunmore Animal Hospital also told police he believes a fifth cat taken there from the Taylor neighborhood was poisoned, according to court documents.

Magisterial District Judge Sean McGraw arraigned Oustrich on Thursday night and released her on $50,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Contact the writer: cover@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5363; @ClaytonOver on Twitter

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