Auburn Gresham Woman Facing Animal Cruelty Charges Banned from Owning Pets

CHICAGO, IL – An Auburn Gresham woman is facing serious animal cruelty charges and has been prohibited from owning any animals following a disturbing discovery made by authorities last month. Ashley Burrell, 37, stands accused of five counts of aggravated cruelty to animals as a result of the findings. Burrell is the founder of Nikki’s Ferals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for cat colonies in need.

Chicago Animal Care and Control conducted an investigation at Burrell’s residence on South Hermitage Avenue after receiving reports of potential animal cruelty. During the investigation, a total of 51 cats and three dogs were found in deplorable conditions. Tragically, five cats were discovered dead due to severe neglect, with two others requiring euthanasia.

Prosecutors expressed their shock at the dire circumstances found within Burrell’s home, highlighting the extent of the animals’ suffering. At a recent court hearing, it was revealed that the surviving cats were malnourished and plagued by various health issues such as tapeworms, fleas, and skin conditions.

In response to the distressing situation, Judge Lindsay Huge mandated that Burrell be prohibited from owning any animals until the resolution of the case. The court proceedings are set to continue on May 29.

Local advocates Erica Roewade and Elizabeth “Liz” Houtz had previously raised concerns about Nikki’s Ferals, citing allegations of fraudulent activities and animal mistreatment. Despite their efforts to bring attention to the organization’s practices, it was not until the recent investigation that action was taken.

Following the raid on Burrell’s home, support poured in from the community, with the Northern Illinois Transport Team raising over $3,000 to assist local shelters through the Homeward Bound Program. This collaborative effort aims to find suitable placements for the rescued animals and address the urgent need for their care.

Amidst the ongoing legal proceedings, the focus remains on the well-being of the animals involved, underscoring the importance of upholding standards of animal welfare and accountability within the community.