Arrest made after 50 cats rescued from ‘sanctuary’ in Middletown


Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones announced his agency rescued nearly 30 cats and have arrested a woman in the case.

Lesli Martin, 51, is facing a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a companion animal, according to Sheriff Jones on Facebook.

Martin reportedly was in charge of the Heart’s Rescue Sanctuary located at 621 Breiel Boulevard in Middletown.

The sheriff’s office and dog warden executed a search warrant at the residence.

Jones said in a Facebook post that in total there were 49 cats living at the sanctuary. Five of the cats that were removed had to be euthanized, and 21 additional cats are still at the sanctuary and under the care of different personnel.

“We gave Ms. Martin ample time to comply with current laws involving these animals, and she just didn’t come through,” said Deputy Dog Warden Kurt Merbs in a release. “Most of the cats have infections and diseases and not all of them are treatable.”

“We tried, we reached out, and it’s a shame it has come to this. These animals were supposed to be cared for by rescue businesses. It’s the basis of their existence. It’s not a good day when my employees have to rescue animals from a place of rescue,” Jones said.

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