Pa. pet groomer charged with piercing kittens

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A woman who marketed "gothic kittens"
with ear, neck and tail piercings over the Internet has been
charged with animal cruelty and conspiracy.
Dog groomer Holly Crawford, 34, was charged Tuesday by humane
officers. Her home outside Wilkes-Barre was raided Dec. 17 after
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne
County received a tip from PETA that she was marketing the animals
online for hundreds of dollars.
Crawford has said she will plead innocent.
Crawford told The Associated Press on Thursday that she didn't
see any difference between piercing a cat and piercing a human. She
said she used sterile needles and surgical soap and that she
checked the kittens several times a day to make sure they were
healing properly.
"When I did it, it wasn't with any cruel intentions," said
Crawford, of rural Ross Township. "They were definitely loved,
well-fed, no fleas, clipped nails. And they were happy."
Daphna Nachminovitch, a vice president for People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals, called the piercings "barbaric."
"There's no excuse for inflicting such pain on an animal that's
the size of your palm," she said.
SPCA Officer Carol Morrison said the kittens had 14-gauge
piercings through their ears and submission rings at the napes of
their necks. One kitten's tail was docked.
Crawford, who sports her own body piercings, said she decided on
a whim to pierce the ears and neck of a stray kitten she took in
last fall and named Snarley Monster. She said she docked the cat's
tail because it was badly damaged and that the animal was not
intended for sale.
Morrison charged Crawford and William Blansett, 37, of Sweet
Valley, each with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, three
summary counts of cruelty and three counts of conspiracy.
Crawford said Blansett helped take calls about the kittens but
that he had nothing to do with the piercings.
A number for Blansett could not be located.
Crawford said her dog-grooming business, Pawside Parlor, has
plummeted since the raid and that she has received dozens of nasty
phone calls.
"My name's ruined, my reputation's ruined, my business is
ruined," she said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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