CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- One day after police and the Humane Society removed more than 100 cats from a Chesterfield County home, a 39-page federal complaint shared by the Humane Society of the United States sheds some light on what may have brought authorities to the house. The complaint, filed in August, stated Elena and Andrey Mikirtichev and their breeding business DreamCoon violated breeding laws and their alleged abuse and neglect of animals has occurred for years.
The October 9 raid of the breeding business, run out of a Bensley Road home, was the result of a separate investigation led by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
The business owners racked up more than 50 citations between March 2023 and August 2023 for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, according to federal court documents.
The act requires breeders to provide adequate food, shelter, and veterinary care to animals.
The USDA, which issued the business its breeding license, cited other violations that started as early as 2021.
The listed examples of maltreatment are extreme.
In one case, the complaint suggested the owners knew a kitten had a malformed chest, but "failed" to notify a veterinarian about the cat’s condition.
Instead, one of the owners attempted to splint the chest cavity with a toilet paper tube, the complaint alleged.
The kitten later died.
Multiple inspections found animals exposed to unsafe and unsanitary conditions, according to the document.
Investigators also claimed the owners failed to provide adequate records of the animals or veterinary care, gave the animals expired Russian medications, or even took them to Russia for treatment.
Their USDA license to operate was requested to be revoked in August, according to the claim. A Notice of Joint Agreement filed in September suggests the owners came to an agreement to immediately cease operations until adhere to several court orders and the Animal Welfare Act. It is unclear if the breeders followed those orders between the filing and the recent raid.
The animals taken from the Chesterfield home were relocated to an undisclosed location but will likely be up for adoption through the United States Humane Society.
"These curious, inquisitive cats deserve proper care, loving homes and an enriching life,” Laura Koivula, director of animal crimes and investigations for the Humane Society of the United States, said. “We are grateful to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and Chesterfield County authorities for intervening on behalf of these cats and we are honored to be part of their new beginning.”
The couple’s attorney would not comment on the pending federal litigation.
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