CAMPBELL -- The operator of an animal rescue group has pleaded innocent to misdemeanor charges in connection with the theft of a cat.
JoAnn E. Barrows, 47, of Silica Road in Austintown, entered the pleas to theft and criminal trespassing charges today in municipal court.
Investigators said Barrows, who operates Second Chance Animal Rescue, stole Roxie from a woman who had adopted the cat from the rescue group.
Roxie, an 18-month-old gray-and-white female cat with green eyes, had been adopted by Patricia M. Bestic of Stewart Road in Lowellville on April 6 for a $95 fee. She reported to police last week that Barrows had come to her home and taken the cat back.
Investigators said Barrows thought she was deceived by Bestic about where the cat would be housed and had returned the adoption fee when she reclaimed the animal.
Barrows and her attorney, Robert Hartford of Youngstown, declined to comment about the case.
Bestic, 45, who works in Youngstown three days each week, had set up a plan to leave the cat with her 80-year-old mother, of Milligan Road in Coitsville, while she is at work.
Went to house
On April 12, Barrows went to the mother's house asking to see the cat. Bestic's sister, Jane Medvec, 53, of New Springfield told police Barrows entered the home uninvited. Medvec said Barrows alleged that Bestic had lied about where the cat would live. She took the cat, leaving behind a $95 check.
Police said Barrows told them she does not allow people older than 70 to adopt cats. She also told police she will no longer adopt cats out to Coitsville, Lowellville or Campbell residents.