VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach woman pleaded guilty to animal cruelty this week after more than 100 dead animals were found in her home in 2019.
Lisa Hokaj-Ross faced 24 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty in the case.
Virginia Beach police and firefighters executed a search warrant at the Spindle Crossing home on March 18, 2019, and found filthy conditions and more than 100 dead animals, including more than 90 cats, were found in freezers or decomposing in bags in the garage. 23 live cats found inside had to be euthanized due to FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis) and one dog has since recovered and been adopted.
According to prosecutors, ammonia levels were so high inside the house that Virginia Beach’s hazmat team said no one should have been in the house for more than 15 minutes without a respirator. It was later condemned.
Hokaj-Ross wasn’t found at the time of the search, but she called her friend at the time and revealed she was hiding the attic, prosecutors say.
As part of the plea agreement, Hokaj-Ross won’t be able to own or possess companion animals for 10 years and animal control will conduct monthly unannounced visits at her home for the first year, with that changing to every day 90 days through years 2-5 and twice per year in years 6-10, pending no violations. Among other orders, Hokaj-Ross will be required to undergo mental health treatment and be required to pay restitution for euthanasia and treatment costs for the animals.
She’s scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 30.