May 8th, 2003



I can't believe this is less than a mile down the road from my street.

Dead, diseased cats found in woman's 2d apartment

By Peter Demarco, Globe Correspondent and Rhonda Stewart, Globe Staff Correspondent, 5/8/2003

Authorities yesterday discovered 12 dead cats and another 52 diseased and emaciated felines in a Watertown apartment rented by Heidi Erickson.

Erickson, whose rancid Beacon Hill apartment was condemned last week after Boston police and code inspectors found 60 dead cats in her refrigerator and freezer and cat feces and blood on floors, was at home at 78 Prentiss St. when authorities came to her door about noon yesterday.

Watertown police, accompanied by Board of Health officials, animal control officers, and a representative from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, presented her with a search warrant obtained early yesterday in Waltham District Court. They entered the four-room apartment and found cats throughout the dwelling - some in cages, some in a children's playpen, others roaming freely - as well as feces and urine-stained floors and a dozen deceased cats - mostly young cats and kittens - in the kitchen freezer.

As was the case in Erickson's Beacon Hill apartment, drugs marked for veterinarian use only were seized yesterday, said Alan Borgal, director of law enforcement for the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

The live animals were taken to one of the four Animal Rescue League shelters, where a veterinary team began examining them last night.

''We knocked on the door and stated our purpose there. I don't think she was that surprised,'' said Watertown police Lieutenant Michael Lawn.

''I would say on a whole she was basically cooperative,'' he continued. ''She was upset we were removing the cats. She asked us not to take the animals. `They're my family,' she said.''

Erickson, 42, was not arrested or cited but will face criminal charges ''along the lines of animal cruelty,'' Lawn said. If convicted, Erickson could be fined up to $1,000 or face up to a year's imprisonment for each animal cruelty charge. Boston authorities are weighing similar charges against the self-described Persian cat breeder.

Yesterday evening, Erickson spoke publicly outside her apartment building about the discovery authorities made yesterday. ''Today has been a horrendous assault upon my privacy, my family, and my dear cats,'' she said, wringing her hands.

Describing herself as a ''neat freak,'' Erickson said that she should be judged, not by authorities, but by cat breeders who understand her situation. ''There isn't anything weird going on here. I'm not cloning cats.''

She told the Globe last week that alleged evidence of her animal cruelty has been ''fabricated'' and ''over-exploded and trumped up.''

She also told WHDH-TV (Channel 7) that Boston officials photographed dead cats found in her Beacon Hill apartment that were not hers.

''Those photos don't represent the way I live,'' Erickson said. ''I have never mistreated my animals. I love my animals. My family has been taken from me and I'm working on trying to get it back.''

The Watertown discovery comes one day after a Boston Housing Court judge banned Erickson from living in Boston if she wants to keep cats.

Angela Perrigo, who lives one street over from Erickson's Watertown apartment, said she was one of the neighbors who called police yesterday after she saw a kitten sitting beside a cat carrier outside of the apartment. She added that a neighbor brought the kitten to his apartment after Erickson refused to bring it inside.

''I think they need to kick this lady out,'' she said. ''With something like this going on, how do you know something else is not going on?

Erickson told police she has been living in the Watertown apartment since April 27, one day before Boston authorities condemned her Charles Street apartment, Long said.

''But our information is that she's been there [in Watertown] since March,'' Long said, adding that Watertown officials learned of Erickson after Prentiss Street neighbors complained of foul smells emanating from her apartment.

The complaints date back to at least Monday, Long said.

As Erickson spoke last evening, neighbors Fabio Costa and Antonia Mores hung outside of their upstairs window, straining to hear her. They said they hadn't noticed any smells coming from Erickson's apartment but agreed that she should probably move out.

Authorities said they do not know if Erickson has rented other apartments in the Boston area.

Borgal said the cats recovered yesterday are in very poor health. He said that some are extremely emaciated, while others have severe upper respiratory tract infections and appear weak.

''Once you get into cats that have viruses, you don't continue to breed. You stop. Any hobby breeder would know enough to stop,'' he said. ''You breed when you have a healthy population.''

Erickson once told a customer she was ''very busy breeding the imperfections'' out of Persian cats, court documents indicate.

Watertown officials said they expected to condemn her apartment.

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 5/8/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
  • Current Mood

Return to the water...

So I'm psyched, I joined a rowing team. It's mostly gay people, which is neat. My first practice is on Saturday and I'm a tad nervous because I haven't been on the water in over 2 years. But I've been ergging all along, plus running biking and lifting, so I'm in excellent shape for this. I imagine it's like riding a bike: you never forget. Maybe a little wobbly at first, but then it all comes back.

My first race is June 7th in Washington, DC for the Stonehill competition. I'm really excited about this because I know I'm stronger now than I was back then. And in college I was in great shape. Who knew quitting my job at the gym would be so beneficial!! I am on a very regular workout schedule, so I feel pretty great.

We're getting ready to place orders for our unisuits and team jackets, so I'm even more excited. Last night I brought out my old unis from college and can still get into all of them with no problems. I'd venture to say I look better in them now than then. ;-)

Anyway, it's a nice pick-me-up considering the downer week I've had. I received some rather disheartening, but unsurprising news a couple days ago. I'm not going to bother going into it, but it just made me plain sad.

I've also been REALLY sick since Monday. I'm starting to feel better as of this morning, but I still have very clogged sinuses and a semi-sore throat. I sound more terrible than I feel, which I suppose is better than having it the other way around. Despite taking vitamin C each day, drinking lots of water and getting tons of exercise, I am a little surprised that I managed to get so sick. Oh well, I guess. But I imagine I'll be better for this weekend... (I hope)
  • Current Mood
    working working


I also failed to remember what an expensive sport Crew is!!!!!

$35 for my yearly dues with the club, $200 per season with the boathouse (I'm trying to talk that down), $65 for a unisuit, $50 for a jacket, $45 for my US Rowing membership for insurance, about $300 for the race trip.

God, I'm all broke now.

Well, at least I'm rowing again... >;-P
  • Current Music
    I am sooooooo broke.

Yellow didn't stop the green...

First Madonna, now Rosie? Here's a big WhatEV!!! to both of you...

Though I wonder how many nannies, trainers and chefs Rosie has?
Rosie O'Donnell heads back into magazine business

By Associated Press, 5/8/2003

NEW YORK -- Rosie O'Donnell is back in the magazine business.

The comedian and former talk show host, whose Rosie magazine lasted for a year and a half, will be a regular contributor to the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate. Her first column appears in the May 13 issue.

O'Donnell came out as a lesbian in March 2002. Her girlfriend, Kelli Carpenter, gave birth in November to a daughter, who joins O'Donnell's three adopted children.

"Today, Rosie's long and brave journey has led her not only to the cover of The Advocate -- Rosie was honored with the magazine's Person of the Year Award for 2002 -- but now to its chorus of voices, as a columnist," Judy Wieder, editorial director of LPI Media, publisher of The Advocate, said Thursday.

In the column, titled "The Yellow," O'Donnell describes how fame robbed her of her "yellow" -- a metaphor she uses for energy and happiness.

"It started to show on my face and body. And as I became bigger and sadder -- starved for yellow," she writes. "I filled my craving with food -- getting madder still with my expanding girth and with my inability to make more yellow."

O'Donnell, 41, pulled out of Rosie magazine last year, saying the publisher was squelching her editorial voice. The publisher, Gruner + Jahr USA, sued her for leaving.
  • Current Mood
    Not yellow...