Highland Park couple fined $21,000 for cruelty to cats
Tails of Hope, a no-kill, rescue adoption group, saved many cats discovered neglected inside a garage in Highland Park. | Sun-Times Media file
Tails of Hope is still looking for homes for six of the 21 Persian cats it rescued from a Highland Park garage in June. For more information, call (847)-557-9554 or visit www.tailsofhope.org.
Updated: October 24, 2012 10:09PM
HIGHLAND PARK — A Highland Park couple found to have neglected a colony of Persian cats has been ordered to pay a total of $21,580 in fines.
Jorjic and Agnes Badalpour were found in violation of city ordinances prohibiting the mistreatment of animals. In an administrative hearing held last week, the couple was fined $1,000 each for 21 counts of unlawful treatment of animals.
They were also ordered to pay $500 for keeping the cats in “unreasonably offensive conditions” and a total of $80 in court fees.
Some 21 emaciated and badly matted cats — along with a few dead ones — were discovered in June in an attached one-car garage at the couple’s Windsor Road home after a member of the family called the animal rescue group Tails of Hope for help removing the felines.
“Originally, I wasn’t going to contact the police,” said Kelly Moyer, Tails of Hope founder. “My original impression was that the family wanted to do the right things for the cats. But the truth is the house was for sale and they couldn’t sell it.”
Badalpour told a hearing officer that his wife bought a male and female pair of the long-haired Persians about five years ago, but that she took sick and then his grown daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“If they had just taken care of the cats, or spayed and neutered them, they could have avoided this situation,” Moyer said. “The fine says there are consequences for animal cruelty.”
The rescue effort took several days. The garage was covered in feces, Moyer said, had no light and little ventilation. Several of the animals’ tails had to be amputated. A pregnant cat, who delivered two kittens, required emergency surgery for an abdominal infection.