A Bonney Lake woman accused of animal cruelty after authorities found five dead cats in her mobile home has been found incompetent to stand trial.
The first-degree animal cruelty charge against 63-year-old Jerilyn Fikse was dismissed March 9, when Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend signed an order that said Fikse couldn’t fully understand the charge or to help in her defense.
Before that, Fikse was treated at Western State Hospital, and a psychologist told the court that further treatment likely wouldn’t restore her competency for trial.
The psychologist had trouble confirming a diagnosis, but said Fikse might have trouble caring for herself without help. After the court order, Fikse was to be evaluated for possible civil commitment.
Charging papers gave this account of how the cat carcases were found:
A manager at the RV park where Fikse’s mobile home was parked hadn’t seen her for about a month in March 2015. He looked in the window, saw a dead cat and called police.
An animal control officer responded and found the other dead cats inside, along with empty food and water dishes. A sixth cat was alive, but suffered from malnourishment and dehydration and later was euthanized.
The officer found and interviewed Fikse, who said she struggled after the death of her longtime partner.