Kelly House Cat Hoarder Appeal Animal Cruelty Conviction

By Matt Grady | Newsworks.org
|  Thursday, Jan 30, 2014  |  Updated 1:14 PM EDT
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Kelly House Cat Hoarder Appeals Conviction

Brian Hickey | NewsWorks.org

A PSPCA van was parked in the driveway outside of Grace Kelly's childhood home on Halloween.

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The East Falls woman who rose to notoriety for hoarding cats in the former childhood home of Princess Grace Kelly has appealed her conviction on 16 counts of animal cruelty.

At a December summary trial, 82-year-old Marjorie Bamont was found guilty in absentia for the mistreatment of one dog and 15 cats, one of which was found dead in her Henry Avenue home.

Bamont's attorneys – who chalked the absence up to illness and a clerical oversight – told NewsWorks after the trial that an appeal would be filed.

On Wednesday, Bamont and attorney Mary Maran stood before Judge Joan Brown and asked for a continuance in their appeal, noting that Jack McMahon, lead counsel for Bamont, was engaged in a homicide trial currently underway.

Upcoming hearings

At what was originally supposed to be a summary appeal trial, Maran formally asked the bench for a postponement. She told Judge Brown that she would provide a "full discovery package" to prosecutors, and that she "looked forward to working through the issues here."

In addition, she noted that Bamont is "terribly concerned" about being away from her pets, and asked for an expedited timeline for the rescheduled trial date. Brown was unable to accommodate this request and scheduled Bamont's appeal for March 27.

According to lawyers for the PSPCA, if the appeal is overturned, the 15 animals currently in PSPCA custody will go up for adoption.

The back story

Officials descended upon Bamont's home on Halloween based off a tip to their animal-cruelty hotline.

However, it was no ordinary house: It was the childhood residence of Grace Kelly, who rose to fame in Hollywood before becoming the Princess of Monaco.

Bamont purchased the home from Thomas Lawton in 1973, according to the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Lawton purchased the home from Grace Kelly's mother Margaret three years earlier.

Inside, agents from the PSPCA reported finding fleas and feces throughout the house.

Bamont was taken into police custody that day and "involuntarily committed" for psychiatric evaluations.

In December, prosecutor Barbara Paul requested that Bamont formally surrender the 14 cats and one dog seized in October to the PSPCA.

This was granted by Judge Frank Brady, who also ordered Bamont to pay $10,000 in restitution to the PSPCA, and banned her from owning animals for approximately four years.

The PSPCA was also given clearance to conduct periodic inspections of the historic home.

Speaking after the trial, Paul suggested that the no-show was a ploy by Bamont and McMahon. A representative from McMahon's office said at the time that an appeal would be filed based solely on her office's clerical oversight, "nothing more or less."


This story is reported through a newsgathering partnership between NBC10.com and NewsWorks.org.

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