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PETA: Woman who owned Lyons home with 111 rabbits is hoarder, needs help

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking Larimer County District Attorney Cliff Riedel to "appropriately prosecute" a Lyons woman after 111 rabbits were found in squalid conditions in her home Sept. 19.

PETA described her as an animal hoarder - someone who obsessively accumulates and neglects animals.

The animal rights group is requesting that, if convicted, she be prohibited from owning or harboring animals and required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by counseling.

A spokeperson for the DA said she has been charged with 111 counts of animal abuse and will next be in court Jan. 15. No other information was released since it is an active case.

"Von Meister appears to be either unable or unwilling to provide animals with the most basic care," says PETA director Martin Mersereau. "...Upon conviction, only carefully considered sentencing and probationary conditions can preclude the otherwise inevitable recurrence of these crimes."

On Sept. 20, the Larimer Humane Society responded to a request from the National Guard to assist with evacuating the rabbits from a home in the 300 block of Pinewood Drive in the flood-ravaged community of Lyons.

When Humane Society representatives arrived, they found 111 of them in varying degrees of health.

"The conditions she was keeping the animals in were harmful to their health," Stephanie Ashley, marketing and community outreach manager for the Larimer Humane Society, told the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

One of the rabbits died and two were euthanized.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that afterer finding the rabbits in the home and garage, living among urine and feces, officials put Von Meister on a three-day psychiatric hold. She was found to be mentally healthy.

On Oct. 17, the court ruled that the rabbits were the property of Larimer Humane due to the owner’s inability to provide proper care for them. Some rabbits were transferred to partnering rescue groups, shelters and Petco stores along the Front Range, including the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and Foothills Animal Shelter.

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