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12/7/2012 6:01:00 AM
Cat theft trial set: 'I can't believe this is still going on,' says accused
Kristin Freiert
Kristin Freiert
Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The case of an animal rescuer charged with stealing a cat from a woman she was trying to help is moving forward.

Kristin Freiert said she thought her legal nightmares were over when her theft case ended in a mistrial right after opening statements were made during proceedings in October. She's now learned that her trial has been rescheduled for Dec. 12.

"I'm just kind of numb right now," she said. "I can't believe this is still going on."

Freiert is charged with stealing a cat last year from a woman in Golden Valley who was looking to reduce the number of felines in her home.

The woman had 50 to 100 cats at the time she reached out to Freiert for help with adopting out some and fixing others.

The cat at the center of the case, Denny, was taken by Freiert to be spayed. When the cat was returned, the woman denied that it was the same cat. Freiert said she tried to give the cat back, but the woman refused to accept her.

The theft wasn't reported until almost three months later, when the Western Arizona Humane Society was called in by Freiert to help with the woman's continued cat overpopulation problem.

The case made its way to a jury trial that was held before Judge John Taylor in Kingman Justice Court Oct. 10. About 45 people were called in for jury selection with six jurors ultimately selected just before lunch. The jurors reconvened after lunch for opening statements but were ordered out of the room shortly thereafter when the court received a fax from another judge approving a special action regarding jury instructions filed by the prosecutor.

While the jurors were out of the courtroom, one juror approached Freiert's husband and one of her witnesses and began a conversation. A second juror informed the bailiff, who then told the judge. Taylor declared a mistrial as a result of the confusion resulting from the prosecutor's special action, along with the allegations of juror tampering.

Freiert, who never thought the case would ever make it to trial the first time, said she was shocked when she learned it had been reset. At that point she said she decided to retain a private attorney over her previously appointed public defender.

The private attorney was too busy however, and said he'd need the case to be pushed forward if he were to take it on. Freiert then filed for, and was subsequently denied, a continuance.

"This has been goingon for over a year and a half," she said. "Why the rush now?"

Freiert feels she is being prosecuted for political reasons. She also questions whether the money that has been spent on the case has been a good use of taxpayer funds. Deputy County Manager Dana Hlavac was unable to give a total as to how much it has cost to prosecute Freiert.

"What are they going to get out of this? If I'm found guilty, it's a $200 to $300 fine," Freiert said.

The maximum punishment under the misdemeanor statute she is charged with is a fine of up to $2,500 and six months in jail, but Prosecutor Michael Powell has stated that Freiert's sentence would likely be far less severe.

When contacted Thursday for comment, Powell said he is handling Freiert's case the same as he would anyone else's. He said there is probable cause to support the charge and that he is duty-bound as a prosecutor to follow through on such cases.

Freiert's frustration continues to mount as she said she would much rather focus on getting back to rescuing animals than dealing with legal problems.

"That's where my heart is and that's where it was when I tried to help this lady," she said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Not Surprised

This is just ridiculous. I have to question if the lady with the cats has some kind of tie within the justice system. Why else would anybody abuse the system like this in hopes of collecting a $300 -$2500 fine? I too have been watching a case go on for more than a year and a half now. Delays with no explanation whatsoever to the victims from the Victims Advocacy. Looks like the good ole boy network is still running just fine. Job security? I no longer help anyone, will not volunteer for anything, and I especially will not help our law UN-enforcement.There is no respect in doing it. I especially get upset when I'm doing the speed limit and am passed by a police/DPS car with no lights going. Got to make it to the doughnut shop.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

This is unbelievable. So Supervisors let's increase the attorney budget so they can prosecute more cases such as this. It's OUR MONEY, FOLKS.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Lisa Rogers

OMG, really I have known Kristin for a while now and she has done nothing but help these animals.. If you knew her you would know she has no reason to steal a cat.... she is the sweetest lady I know.. This lady that is suing Kristin should be sued by Kristin for disrupting her life and by the city for wasting their time.. We as a city are lucky to have someone like Kristin living in it... otherwise all these cats that are in need of her help would die for lack of help... I have never seen anyone that cares for animals as much as she does.. whoever you are leave Kristin alone.. give us your name or are you to ashamed? KRISTIN DESERVES A MEDAL FOR ALL SHE HAS DONE FOR THE ANIMALS.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

Anybody interested in protesting in front of the courthouse on December 12th?

I don't even know this lady but this is ridiculous and we need to do something! Whether in support of her or to show your disgust with this flawed and corrupt local justice system, this case is the perfect opportunity to speak up! Maybe we can finally get some media coverage on this justice system and put an end to the crap. Who's with me?
Anybody good at organizing a protest?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Gabby B

What????? They have really scheduled another nonsense trial for this idiocy?
Let me tell you that Kristin Freiert is the most compassionate animal advocate this county has ever seen!
If these idiots don't stop persecuting (YES... persecuting) people who help animals, there isn't going to be anyone left who cares!
I know of her through professional interactions and there is no person I would entrust my four legged family members life to but her and the Low Cost Spay and Neuter clinic. The staff there is caring and compassionate to the owners and pets!
For some idiot persecutor to want to destroy this woman's reputation with a malicious prosecution is beyond my comprehension.
Also, why is this hoarder not being prosecuted for having so many cats? Does she know some big shot that is preventing her from being charged?
Why are they keeping her name anonymous? Is she afraid? Well, it won't be long until everyone knows who she is anyway. Anyone can sit in on a trial and I, for one, am going to be there to show my support for Kirstin!
Please..... I encourage all of the readers to contact our beloved County Attorney (you know, the one who AGAIN ran opposed this last election) and tell him to drop this idiot case.
Matt Smith.... you need to do something about this! Stop kissing some big wigs proverbial butt and start listening to the county residents that have to put up with you!
As for this woman "hoarder" .... you should be ashamed of yourself lady!

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Do Your Jobs You Lazy Prosecutors And Judges! !!

This lousy county makes plea deals with severe criminals to "avoid the expense" of a lengthy trial and then they continue to pursue this and waste our money!? Are you kidding me! Something has got to change around here, but it doesn't, it never does!

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

I think this just supports the new rules of interaction with people. Don't help, don't offer to help and keep to yourself because there is always a person lurking out there that will sue and and try to take away all that you have worked hard for, and just because you were trying to do a nice thing, the old days are gone, get used to the new "American order".

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Nancy Rodriguez

Time and again real criminals in this city are not even prosecuted, or given a slap on the wrist. This wonderful lady has done nothing wrong, but is a victim of a witch hunt. Leave her alone, and start acting like professionals.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: L Smith

Once again waste of TAX PAYER MONEY.... who didn't know that. Mohave County legal system.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: 50-100 Cats IS that Legal?

I cannot believe the ignorance involved in this case. Quit wasting tax payers money on such nonsense.
Is it legal for the woman to have 50-100 cats? Is the County doing anything about that enforcement?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Steph C

I have known Kristin for years. This is a woman who has donated countless hours to helping needy animals in Mohave County. Without her, there would be hundreds, if not thousands, more homeless, unwanted animals in our already overpopulated community.

To persecute such a caring, compassionate person in such a ridiculous manner saddens me beyond words. Such a case further damages my faith in the legal system in partucular and in humanity in general.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Holly Taylor

What happened to protecting "the Good Samaritan" - especially this time if year. Shame on the prosecutor for punishing someone who tried to help someone who most of us would have written off and avoided.

I pray that the spirit of Christmas will prevail and people in the county won't have to live in fear of prosecution for helping their neighbor!

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: mo co rider

what a complete waste of taxpayer money! for some lady in the valley that has more cats than you should have anyways! legal system?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: just a fact

No good deed shall go unpunished. Of all of the asinine accusations possible, this is the stupidest. The old lady has far more animals than the number allowed. Why isn't she being punished? Why has the court system allowed it to go this far? This is a waste of the taxpayers money.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Jerry Burch

Who Ultimately is Suffering Because of this Nonsense? The Animals we would be helping if our Time and Energy wasn't being Dictated by the Judicial System.
Funny how they can't seem to calculate the cost of this nonsense. Several informed people have put it at $30,000 - $40,000.
Your TaxPayer Dollars that could go to Spay/Neuter programs to END THE OVERPOPULATION. But no, the Very People Who Should be Advocating the Spay/Neuter to end it ARE THE ONES WHO KEEP THIS GOING. Apparently they want their OVERPAID positions for Life. The animals are the path to JOB SECURITY.
Please Mohave County get in touch with the County Attorney, the Supervisors and anyone that should know this is a WASTE of TIME and $$$$$$$$$$
Jerry Burch (The Cat Lady's Man)

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Who ever decided to prosecute this women needs to no longer work in the justice system.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Dave In Golden Valley

Is it really news to have all these variations on "save the animals" cases on the front page all the time? My point continues, too many "save the animals" nuts in Mohave County.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Lena Margita

Have we really bordered such ridiculousness? This is what taxpayer money is going toward?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

You have to be kidding me. I can’t honestly believe county officials are wasting a big chunk of tax-payer revenues and are going after Kristin Freiert who attempted to help a Golden Valley resident with her over-the-top cat population.

According to Freiert, she attempted to return the cat to the owner after having it spayed for her and the resident said it wasn’t the same cat. And to top it off, it took the resident three months to finally get in touch with the police to file charges only after speaking with Western Arizona Humane Society. Hey, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I would think if the resident had between 50 and a 100 cats, she probably didn’t even know which cat was taken for the spay operation.

I honestly believe the case should be the other way around the Golden Valley resident should have been charged with filing a false police report. Here is Kristin Freiert, a cat-loving person who attempted to help out a woman with an overpopulation cat problem, is sucked into the Mohave County legal system for being nice, and attempting to help someone in need.

It almost makes people say, “Enough is enough and we shouldn’t help someone who has an obvious cat hording problem and/or addiction.”

Deputy County Manager for Criminal Justices Dana Hlavac, it would behoove you to step knee-deep into this legal quagmire and do the right thing. Speak to Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith and end this injustice and waste of taxpayer revenues. There are many more needed things taxpayer revenues could be spent on.

Ms. Freiert should be presented a certificate of appreciation from Mohave County Supervisors for her efforts to help out the “cat woman from Golden Valley” who was in need instead of being maliciously prosecuted.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: s. c.

OK!! This is a ridiculous waste of the court's time! It's a misdemeanor cat theft,... seriously?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

This is an absolute joke!!

Mohave County legal system is something to question!! They will move forward quickly for a situation like this, yet a murder trial (and the victims) can't get their date in court. I also have been watching a two year embezzlement case and it hasn't been to trial yet either....delay, delay and delay. No wonder this county and state has so many is know as commit a crime and chances you won't be least for years.. I wish someone could give me some valid answers?

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Lorin McCann

I know Kristin Freiert and she has no reason to steal cats. She is overwhelmed with cats that people are trying to give her.
It is people like this woman that makes rescue and helping people out very hard. I can bet no rescue will now help her. Without help it will now turn into a lot more than a hundred cats.
My wife was helping one woman ( maybe the same woman ) with her cats and the woman called the sheriff claiming she was a witch.
The point being that there are many crazy people out there and this trial is a waste of taxpayer money.
Isn't having a hundred cats against he law in Mohave county.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: No good deed goes unpunished

This is why many people who "help" people Stop helping anyone.

This woman helps a catlady get rid of a few of the possible 100 cats she has collected. Take her time to get this one spayed. Im sure without cost to the cat collector.

How can anyone with 100 cats know which is which. Refusing to take the spayed cat claiming its not the same cat? Thats not ridiculous its just down right crazy.

I hope this crazed cat woman looses her attempt to step on the hand that was helping her.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012
Article comment by: Web Dawg

Kristin spends her whole life trying to help homeless and needy pets and she is getting put through this?

Why isn't this woman's name mentioned?

i would like to hear about these 50 - 100 cats and how they are being treated.

Our court system here in kingman is really got things backward as usual.

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