Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman Thursday for animal cruelty and burglary after she allegedly choked and then fatally stabbed her ex-boyfriend’s cat and attempted to steal paintings from his house, according to Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
Nellie Marie Palacios, a 43-year-old Santa Maria resident, told her current boyfriend that the two of them were going to her cousin’s house in Orcutt, Hoover said. Once at the location, the boyfriend stayed mostly outside, but walked in and out of the home periodically. He later told deputies he saw Palacios removing paintings from the walls and choking and stabbing a cat with a kitchen knife. The boyfriend, Hoover said, called 911 and left.
When authorities got to the house, they found Palacios in the back yard and the cat dead inside a doghouse, under which they found the knife she allegedly used, covered with blood and fur. Paintings and other household items were found in Palacios’s car. Deputies later discovered the house belonged to Palacios’s ex-boyfriend, not her cousin.
Palacios told officers that the cat attacked her and that she was defending herself. She was treated at a nearby hospital for scratches and then booked into Santa Barbara County Jail at $50,000 bail.