Court: Alleged animal hoarder should not have been given pretrial intervention

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

A woman whose home was populated by starving cats who had eaten some of their own to survive will have to go back to court to see if she can avoid a trial and possible jail time.

A New Jersey state appeals court ruled Monday that a judge erred when he allowed Jill Petruska to enter a pretrial intervention program that would have allowed her to eventually clear her record.

Investigators removed 13 live cats from Petruska's Nutley apartment in 2016 and estimated 12 more had died, though they said getting an accurate number was difficult because body parts were strewn around.

Petruska claimed she'd been caring for a sick relative and had stopped by periodically to care for the cats.

Her attorney didn't immediately return a phone message Monday.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Photos: House explosion in Ridgefield

    Photos: House explosion in Ridgefield

    Monday, June 17 2019 4:01 PM EDT2019-06-17 20:01:11 GMT
    Chopper 12 was overhead as crews responded to a house explosion in Ridgefield.
    Chopper 12 was overhead as crews responded to a house explosion in Ridgefield.
  • Your 2019 Father's Day Photos

    Your 2019 Father's Day Photos

    Celebrate your father this Father's Day! Send us photos of you and your dad or you and your kids!
    Celebrate your father this Father's Day! Send us photos of you and your dad or you and your kids!
  • Your 2019 Prom Photos

    Your 2019 Prom Photos

    Are you or a loved one headed to the prom this year? We want to see your photos!
    Are you or a loved one headed to the prom this year? We want to see your photos!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."