Lake City animal rescue investigated for alleged animal cruelty

Dozens of cats, lizards and birds, as well as a 7-foot boa constrictor and other animals, were seized from Animal Talk & Missy's Rescue amid allegations of animal cruelty against long-time owner Michelle "Missy" Young.

Young told KIRO 7 she has found homes for more than 20,000 cats in her 30 years of working with animals.

But officers with Seattle Animal Control are investigating the Lake City business owner for alleged animal cruelty after a complaint was filed with the agency in mid-July.

According to investigative documents filed in King County Superior Court, animal control officers searched the business at 12322 Lake City Way Northwest on July 12.

A search warrant filed in connection with the case alleges dozens of animals were in "filthy" and "crowded conditions," and were "suffering or in physical pain."

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Kittens were reportedly "emaciated." Some animals reportedly had "lesions" or were described as being "sick."

In all, 17 cats, 10 birds, a dozen reptiles and small mammals, plus a 7-foot-long boa constrictor, were seized.

Young faces potential gross misdemeanor charges because of what she calls “a witch hunt."

She told KIRO 7 on Tuesday, "I don't know how else to explain it."

A spokesperson for Seattle Animal Control declined a request for an on-camera interview, but agency documents reveal 10 similar welfare complaints filed against Young since 2007 for overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and "failure to provide veterinary care."

“I don’t think anybody’s perfect, and I can tell you, at any point in time, if you walk in this building and you search for it, you are going to find something wrong,” Young said about the current and previous complaints.

Complaints, she said, are "not unusual for anyone who deals with animals."

Timothy Mead has been a customer of Young's for years and was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt regarding the ongoing investigation.

“Any animal she came in possession of, I assume, might be living in really substandard conditions,” the middle school teacher told KIRO 7.

“Perhaps conditions weren’t perfect, but I know she loves animals.”

While the investigation continues, Young is trying to get her animals back.

She said many times during her interview with KIRO 7 that she is a big supporter of Seattle Animal Control.

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