Nov 4, 2015

Woman arrested for altercation over cat

A woman who once ran into trouble for helping keep more than 150 cats is now in trouble for a a dispute over a single feline.

Cody police arrested 68-year-old Maureen “Michelle” Nesbit last week after she reportedly caused a disturbance at her Pioneer Avenue apartment complex. Charging documents allege Nesbit falsely accused her next-door neighbor of stealing her cat — screaming at the man through their shared wall, kicking his door and banging her cupboards.

Maureen Nesbit
Nesbit ultimately found the cat in her own apartment, charging documents say. However, she indicated to responding Cody Police Officer Scott Burlingame that she still believed her neighbor had stolen the animal before somehow putting it back.

Nesbit pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of breach of peace last week. Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters has set Nesbit’s bail at $750 cash. A family member posted that amount today (Wednesday) and she was released.

In an affidavit filed in support of the Oct. 27 arrest, officer Burlingame said one reason he took Nesbit into custody is that he saw it as an worsening situation. Burlingame said Nesbit had called the department around 15 times in October.

“All the calls have concluded in unsubstantiated claims in reference to Nesbit's increasing paranoia,” Burlingame wrote.

The day of the altercation, police logs indicate Nesbit apparently called to report her cat had been “kidnapped.”

The neighbor ended up calling police, too.

“(The neighbor) advised he was at his (wits’) end and felt he could no longer safely live in the apartment complex,” Burlingame wrote.

The neighbor said Nesbit had become fixated on him over the past few months. He added that residents in the complex had seen Nesbit walking the halls with a pistol.

Nesbit told Burlingame she owned a pistol, but that she’d given it to a leader at her church a couple days before the altercation.

She reportedly described her neighbor as being “out to get her.”

“Nesbit said (the neighbor) watches her with surreptitiously placed cameras, (the neighbor) has pumped poisonous gas into her apartment and (the neighbor) somehow has Tased her while she is in the bathtub,” Burlingame recounted.

Nesbit repeated many of those accusations in the margins of her application for a court-appointed attorney after her arrest, including writing that she’s been “constantly harassed and threatened for two months by six or more people.”

In August 2010, authorities seized 157 cats from the Powell area home Nesbit was then sharing with her twin sister and her sister’s husband. Nesbit pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of animal cruelty in connection with that case. Authorities said then that Nesbit’s sister was primarily responsible for collecting the cats.

A trial in the new, breach of peace case has tentatively been set for Jan. 28.

(Update: Nesbit was re-arrested on similar allegations on Nov. 8.)

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