‘Cat lady' arrested at Plymouth court: Warrant discovered as she is led outside for berating officials
By TAMARA RACE
The Patriot Ledger
PLYMOUTH - Boston's notorious ‘‘cat lady'' found out it's risky to raise a fuss in a courthouse, especially if you have an outstanding warrant.
Heidi Erickson, who made headlines last year when housing inspectors found dead cats in her freezer, was arrested outside Plymouth District Court yesterday on a Boston Municipal Court warrant for animal cruelty.
Erickson had been at the courthouse for more than an hour demanding prosecutors, clerks and magistrates investigate and file criminal charges against the Animal Rescue League.
About 42 of Erickson's cats, seized during her eviction from apartments in Boston and Watertown, landed at the Animal Rescue League's shelter in Pembroke.
League workers put to death many of the cats and put the entire shelter in quarantine because of a ringworm outbreak they blame on Erickson's animals, according to court files.
Erickson sued the League, accusing them of neglecting her cats and destroying them without reason, court documents indicate. She says her cats contracted ringworm at the shelter.
The case was thrown out and Erickson was banned from filing complaints in federal court as well as the Superior Courts in Suffolk, Middlesex and Plymouth counties.
Now she wants to pursue her dispute against the League in District Court, and that is what brought her to Plymouth.
Yesterday's exchanges were heated at times as court officials and police prosecutors tried to direct Erickson through the proper channels for filing such complaints.
Erickson demanded Pembroke police prosecutor David Klaus investigate and file criminal complaints against the Animal Rescue League.
When Klauss declined and referred her to a magistrate, she berated him and demanded the names of his superiors.
Court officers warned her several times to lower her voice and finally asked her to leave the building.
Plymouth police were called to the courthouse to help keep the peace while escorting Erickson from the building.
When they asked her for identification, they discovered the active warrant and arrested her. She was taken in shackles to Boston to answer the charges in court there.
Plymouth County Regional Administrative Justice Linda Giles ordered the Superior Court case against the Rescue League thrown out because Erickson did not seek approval from the court before filing the complaint.
Giles made the ruling citing Erickson's ‘‘frequent, vexatious litigations,'' including 19 legal actions in the three counties.
Erickson's request to the District Court to issue complaints are pending.
Assistant Magistrate Lucy Canavan, who presided over the first contentious hearing on the applications, has asked the regional admistrator for the District Courts if Erickson is also banned from filing actions in District Court.