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Felony charges facing alleged cat killer

County humane police officer Janice Lawniczak prepares to complete the forensic work in a case in Winfield Township where 21 cats were left to die on a rural property on Bear Creek Road. Lawniczak examined the skeletal remains to get an accurate count of the number of cats that were left to die. Tamara Rusz, no known address, faces 21 felony charges in the case.

A woman accused of leaving 21 cats in carriers and bins to starve and die in Winfield Township is facing 21 felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty causing serious bodily injury or death.

Janice Lawniczak, the county's humane police officer, said Tamara Rusz left the animals to die on the rural Bear Creek Road property of her mother, Marilyn King. Upon investigating the scene, Lawniczak discovered mainly skeletal remains in the carriers, bins and garbage bags containing bins.

“It's the worst thing I've ever done,” said Lawniczak, whose position as humane officer is volunteer.

She said District Judge Sue Haggerty has issued a bench warrant for Rusz, who has no known address.

Anyone who sees or knows the whereabouts of Tamara Rusz, whose last known address was a post office box in Mars, should call 911, said Lawniczak.

This is an excerpt — pick up Wednesday's Butler Eagle or subscribe online to read the full article.

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