Friday, February 3, 1995

Florida: Vikki Kittles found guilty on 42 counts of animal cruelty

FLORIDA -- Vikki Kittles, who gained notoriety for hoarding horses and dozens of other animals in her mother's Wilton Manors home, was convicted in Oregon on Wednesday of 42 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect.

The convictions are the latest chapter in the strange saga of Kittles, 46, who has a history of mistreating animals while insisting she is saving them.

Vikki Rene Kittles (also known as Susan Dietrich, Rene Depenbrock, and Lynn Zellan) was arrested on animal cruelty charges in Broward County in 1985 for keeping 37 dogs, three cats and two horses in her mother's home.

She was convicted of one charge in Broward, acquitted of another and served no time in jail. She then went on a journey that ended in Oregon.

Kittles was arrested on animal neglect charges in the coastal town of Astoria in April 1993, when she was discovered to be living with 115 dogs, four cats and two chickens in a squalid school bus.

After she failed to appear for trial last August, Kittles was arrested in Washington state and has been in jail ever since.

Kittles went through eight lawyers and six judges before trial, finally acting as her own attorney. She was cited four times for contempt of court and sentenced to 70 days in jail for outbursts during the five-week trial.

Kittles will be sentenced today. Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis said he will ask for "a substantial amount of jail, and most important, forfeiture of the animals.''

Marquis also will ask that Kittles not be allowed to adopt new animals while under the court's jurisdiction or be allowed to contact witnesses or people who will adopt her animals.

(Sun Sentinel - Feb 3, 1995)