Cat Lady is Better with Taxes than with Cats

Oakland’s “Cat Lady” may have found tax relief by beating the IRS, but now the Alameda County District Attorney is pursuing felony animal cruelty charges against her.

You may remember the story of Jan Van Dusen and all her cats. She, at one time, was keeping nearly 100 cats in a 1,500 square foot home in West Oakland. Her tax case was focused on the $10,000/year expenses for cat food, shots, cleaning, etc. that she claimed to be tax exempt. The IRS refused to allow her deductions at the  administrative level. But a Tax Court overturned the IRS in finding that Van Dusen did in fact qualify for her claimed charitable contribution deductions.

Allegedly her foster pets were not being cared for properly, which is no surprise — how could one person take care of so many cats? Local animal control officers confiscated her pets in October and the district attorney’s office is now pursuing the uncommonly severe felony animal abuse charge. More details here.

The Cat Lady faces up to 3 years in prison and a $20,000 fine if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty.

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