Athens woman arrested for maintaining home in which children and a disabled adult lived in squalor


Catherine Renee Elkins

By Joe Johnson

An Athens woman was recently arrested for maintaining a home in which three children and a disabled adult lived in squalor.

Athens-Clarke County police officers responded to the Ambler Road home on June 27 to assist the Department of Family and Children Services in a check of the living environment there, according to Lt. Shaun Barnet, ACCPD’s public information officer.

The main resident of the home, 34-year-old Catherine Renee Elkins, was arrested at the scene.

“Upon arrival, officers found the residents to be living in complete squalor,” Barnett said. “There was rotting trash throughout the interior and exterior of the home, there was animal feces and urine throughout the interior of the home, and there was a bug infestation.”

The residents included four children, ranging in age from 5 to 16, and a 65-year-old woman, who had an undisclosed disability. Also living at the home were five cats, seven kittens -- all of which appeared to be malnourished -- and a dog.

According to the lieutenant, “Officers stated that the smell of the rotting trash and feces from the interior of the home could be smelled from a distance of about 35 feet outside of the home.”

Barnett added that “officers stated in the report their observations of the living conditions made it ‘immediately apparent that children should not be living there,’ and that they “felt that the amount of trash and filth that had accumulated would have taken months to accumulate with no apparent effort to improve the conditions.”

State privacy laws prevent police from disclosing how Elkins was related to the victims.

She was charged with five counts of first-degree cruelty to children, 12 counts of cruelty to animals, and one count of inflicting pain by depriving essential services to a disabled or elderly person.

According to Barnett, DFACS made arrangements for the children and referred the older woman’s case was referred to Adult Protective Services.

The county Animal Services Department took possession of the cats and dog.

Elkins was released from the county jail Thursday night upon posting good security bonds totaling $2,000.

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