Owner of 102 cats charged with felony cruelty

A Marion County pet owner is facing the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. The woman, who lived with more than 100 cats, said she did nothing wrong.
“I didn’t know how many there were, I just fed them and took care of them as best I could,” Diana Danraby said. “Sure, sometimes we starved to make sure the cats had food.”
Darnaby’s 102 cats were seized by Marion County Animal Control last week from her Summerfield home, and a shed she and her husband built to care for them.
Friday, she got the paperwork with photos of the cats, notifiying her that 60 of them were euthanized.
“That was Lucky,” Darnaby said pointing to one of her favorites. “How lucky was he? Here they put euthanized.”
“Many of the cats had severe respiratory infection, conjunctivitis, hookworms, roundworms and earmites,” Marion County spokesperson Elaine McClain explained.
The 42 cats that didn’t have to be euthanized are now being cared for at Marion County’s Animal Center. They will go to court Sept. 15 to try to get custody of them.
Darnaby is going to court herself. The State Attorney’s Office charged her this week with felony animal cruelty. Investigators said during the raid they found piles of fecal matter, and puddles of urine, fleas and roaches.
An arrest affidavit points out this isn’t the first time they had to raid her home. In 2009, 75 cats were removed. It said she’s been educated numerous times on how to care for animals and intentionally neglected their care. It said she’s responsible for excessive and repeated infliction of unnecessary pain to the animals.
“I loved those cats, they are my family,” Darnaby said.
Darnaby faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
 “I just want to know why I’d be going to prison, why I’m being served with a felony?”
Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway said the felony charge stems from the number of cats that had to be euthanized.

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