KITTY MILL: Advance Woman Arrested; More Than 40 Animals, Some Exotics, Are Confiscated

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

By Mike Barnhardt
Enterprise Record

ADVANCE – More than 40 animals – many of them exotic cats – were taken from a home here last week in what investigators are calling an “exotic kitty mill.”
Sandra Cheek Norman, 49, of Underpass Road, was charged with 18 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, one felony count of cruelty to animals, violations of the county’s exotic animal ordinance and failure to list real property.
“It’s basically a kitty mill,” said Davie Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Dewitt, the county’s animal cruelty investigator. “It’s these uncontrolled, irresponsible breeder that has brought us this cat problem.”
Stray cats are put down in the county shelter daily, he said.
Kimberley Alboum, North Carolina director of the Humane Society, started the investigation when she questioned department of agriculture officials about a business in Davie County that advertised for sale exotic hybrid cats.
Dewitt checked, and found that Norman had a county permit (Davie is one of few counties with an exotic animal ordinance). That allowed him on the property for an inspection to see if she was following the letter of the law.
She wasn’t, according to Dewitt. Not only that, the conditions in which the animals were living were unsatisfactory.
Dewitt and Christie Shore, head of Davie County Animal Control, went to the property on Dec. 9.
They found the pen for a serval – a large, exotic cat -was not locked, nor was there a sign. Both are requirements of the county ordinance. Savannah cats were also housed in this building some 100 yards behind the main residence …