For Joan Riley, the thought of parting with her dead cats was so unbearable that she kept their carcasses stacked in the freezer -- 40 of them.
Sunday, Riley was charged with 69 counts of animal cruelty after officials caught her trying to dispose of the frozen cat and kitten carcasses while moving out of her two-bedroom apartment in Warren County.
Riley, 50, told the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that the cats were her babies and that she would not do anything to hurt them.
"I love my cats so much," she said in an interview. Burying them "is a task I avoid. I just kept putting it off and putting it off and they kept building up in the freezer."
"If you have a cat and it dies, you bury it," said Cathy Cloutier, SPCA director. "I wouldn't put it in a Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer."