A Montgomery County woman who admitted allowing her cats to starve to death has to start the legal process all over again.
50-year-old Patricia Wiehler pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of cruelty to animals earlier this month before a magisterial district judge, who gave her four years on probation and 400 hours of community service. He also ordered a psychological evaluation and barred her from owning any pets while on probation. Now Montgomery County President Judge Richard Hodgson has vacated the sentence, saying district judges do not have the authority to give people probation. The decomposing bodies of as many as 37 dead cats and kittens were found early last month at her townhouse on Whitpain Hills Drive in Whitpain Township. They had been confined for about a month with no food or water, and some cats were forced to feed on the others. Wiehler told police she had not been at the house since early May because she was caring for her ailing mother. Assistant District Attorney Abby Silverman said it may be an explanation, but it is no excuse, because her mother was only 25 minutes away.