Friday, March 27, 2015

Ohio: Criminal charges filed against 3 more Cat Crossing shelter volunteers- Jessica Oslander, Steven Smith and Marian Lowes. Also charged: Mary Wawrytko, 64, and Joseph Scott Gray, 50

OHIO -- Three more of the volunteers who ran The Cat Crossing shelter that was raided Jan. 28 by the Cleveland Animal Protective League face charges.

Marian Lowes, 56, of Rocky River, is charged with obstructing justice, obstructing official business, two counts of neglecting 147 cats and three counts of keeping animals in filthy conditions.


Steven Smith, 58, of Rocky River, is charged with two counts of neglecting the same cats and three counts related to filthy conditions.

And Jessica Oslander, 31, of Cleveland, faces 26 counts of neglect related to filthy conditions and lack of veterinary care. She has a felony criminal history in Florida that includes domestic violence and fraud.

Many of the charges are first-degree misdemeanors that carry maximum sentences of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Lowes was charged with obstructing because she "was present when the search warrant was served and an on-site impound of all cats was ordered," APL Chief Animal Control Officer Jed Mignano said. "Lowes removed a cat from the premises in order to conceal the cat, which is evidence in an investigation."

Hercules, one of the 147 cats confiscated from The Cat Crossing, had to 
be euthanized. He had FeLV, FIV, stomatitis, severe gingivitis, respiratory 
infection and ear mites after being at the shelter for five months.

The trio will be arraigned next month in Cleveland Municipal Court soon after the court appearances of  two other defendants, Mary Wawrytko, 64, and Joseph Scott Gray, 50. Those two were charged last week with a total of 52 counts of animal neglect and are due in court Thursday, April 2.

Gray and Wawrytko both live at the West 25th Street shelter where the 147 cats were confiscated.

Worms shown on the bedding

More than 86 percent of the cats were ill, and 21 had to be euthanized due to complications of feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus and other infections, the APL's veterinarian said.

Wawrytko co-founded The Cat Crossing in 2012 and rented a former warehouse in the Ohio City neighborhood soon after she faced the same complaints about ill cats and unsanitary conditions at her previous home on Columbus Road in the nearby Flats.

Many of the confiscated Cat Crossing cats are now healthy enough for adoption.

The Cleveland APL still has 45 of them; 31 are available for $45 each at 1729 Willey Ave. The Friendship Animal Protective League, 8303 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, took 27 of the cats off the APL's hands and still has 19 available for $10 each.

And Tails From the City took 17 of the cats into its shelter on Cleveland's West Side. Six of those still need homes. Fill out an adoption application at

"Unfortunately, all of the cats were exposed to FIV and FeLV at Cat Crossing, so we will need to retest them, free of charge, in April," Harvey said. "We are looking for homes where the Cat Crossing cats will be the only cat or where they can be isolated from other cats until they can be retested. The cats adopted from Friendship in Elyria can be retested there."

( - March 26, 2015)

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