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Former animal rescue employee charged with 9 counts of aggravated animal cruelty

Michelline Toulouse, 36, accused of hoarding cats in filthy conditions

Animal cruelty charges have been filed against the woman who was arrested earlier this summer for allegedly stealing from an animal rescue group.
Animal cruelty charges have been filed against the woman who was arrested earlier this summer for allegedly stealing from an animal rescue group.

SUNRISE, Fla. – Animal cruelty charges have been filed against the woman who was arrested earlier this summer for allegedly stealing from an animal rescue group.

Michelline Toulouse, 36, is facing nine felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Authorities said they found more than 50 cats that were malnourished and living in filthy conditions at her Sunrise apartment back in June. At least 10 were already dead.

According to her arrest report, officers witnessed horrifying conditions inside her apartment, including the “Infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering to 63 cats, by housing them inside of an abandoned, closed residence…exposing them to feces and urine with no exchange of air and depriving them of necessary sustenance.”

The arrest form goes into gruesome details about the home, which contained dead cats left in deplorable conditions.

One cat was documented to have an illness contracted by eating something containing feces.

Saving Sage -- the animal rescue Toulouse once worked for -- released the following statement:

“We are saddened but relieved that Michelline has been arrested and will be prosecuted and held accountable for her crimes for the horrible neglect the animals in her possession have suffered. It is unimaginable that a fellow rescuer would be responsible for such horrors.”

Toulouse was first arrested after she was seen on surveillance video appearing to steal money from a drawer at the rescue group.

We’re told she’s now in the hospital recovering from a car crash, but police say she’ll be booked into jail as soon as she’s released.


About the Author:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.