Animal Law

Lawyer testifies she did her best to care for 100-plus cats

A California lawyer who won a tax court ruling on expense deductions for cat care is back in court, this time on a charge of animal abuse.

Oakland lawyer Jan Van Dusen testified Wednesday that she did her best to care for the cats, CBS SF reports. Van Dusen, 62, said she provided food and medical care “to the best of my ability.”

She admitted her home smelled like urine, but “not that much,” and that it also smelled like feces, the story says. She also acknowledged that some of the cats had diarrhea, but attributed the problem to negligence by a friend she hired to take care of the cats.

Animal control officials raided Van Dusen’s home in October 2011, four months after she won a favorable tax court ruling. They reported finding around 100 cats, including 11 cats that were dead. A veterinarian testified last week that the cats had to compete for food and water, and they had contagious illnesses that could spread to a healthy cat, the Oakland Tribune reported.

Van Dusen had claimed a deduction for $12,000 in expenses for care of the cats, which she trapped, neutered and cared for until releasing them into the wild or giving them away, according to the 2011 Tax Court ruling. She was allowed to deduct some of the expenses as charitable deductions.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.