Two Dunwoody women were arrested this week by Sandy Springs Police for hoarding dozens of cats in their minivan.

Sharyn Ann Wingate (DeKalb County Jail)
Sharyn Ann Wingate (DeKalb County Jail)

The women, Alexandra Wingate, 41, and her mother, Sharyn Ann Wingate, 70, were  arrested for violating their probation for hoarding 38 cats in their van. DeKalb County Jail records show Alexandra Wingate was arrested in 2011 and 2014 for cruelty to animals and Sharyn Ann Wingate was arrested in 2014 for cruelty to animals.

The incident happened April 26 at about 2:30 p.m. at the Kroger in Sandy Springs Circle. An officer was dispatched to conduct a welfare check on a possible homeless family in a blue van, according to a police report.

Alexandra Wingate (DeKalb County Jail)
Alexandra Wingate (DeKalb County Jail)

The officer noticed the blue Dodge Caravan with Florida places in the parking lot and noticed “the vehicle was filled with a larger number of cats and one female passenger,” according to the report.

“As I approached the vehicle, I detected a strong odor of cat urine and feces,” the officer stated.

The woman, Alexandra Wingate, told the officer she was waiting for her mother to return with packs of water.

“While we waited for her mother to return, I asked about the health and safety of the cats. [She] stated they worked with a local veterinary clinic as part of their placement department. Based on her disheveled appearance and the odor coming from the vehicle, I bluntly asked her if she and her mother were homeless. She denied the accusation and stated she lived in Dunwoody,” according to the report.

The officer ran the Alexandra Wingate’s identification through the Georgia and National Crime Information Centers and learned she was wanted on an active warrant out of DeKalb County for cruelty to animals. When Sharyn Ann Wingate returned to the van, the officer ran her identification and found out she was also wanted in DeKalb County for cruelty to animals. Both women were arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail.

Fulton County Animal Control responded to the scene to take custody of 38 cats and the cats were transferred to LifeLine Animal Project, a no-kill shelter, where most are now up for adoption.

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Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.