TEXAS CITY The Monday trial of a feline sanctuary owner on animal cruelty charges is on hold pending a ruling from an appeals court.

Authorities charged Wydell Lorraine Dixon, 57, with four felony counts of animal cruelty, stemming from the Jan. 3, 2012, seizure of 200 cats from Whiskerville Animal Sanctuary Inc. in Texas City after finding them in squalid living conditions. A total of 27 dead cats were removed from the building.

In a civil trial, a jury found the cats were treated cruelly and abandoned, which transferred custody of the cats to the county. The jury also awarded $231,884 in restitution to public and private animal benevolence organizations that cared for 170 of the cats, which a prosecutor said were abandoned at least 40 days.

Dixon s attorney, R. Scott Shearer, appealed the civil verdict in August, but the First Court of Appeals in Houston has yet to rule on the matter.

Click here to read more at the Galveston County Daily News.

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