Stolen U-Haul that was recovered leads to drug and animal cruelty charges for 2 people in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Two people face a multitude of charges, including seven counts of animal cruelty after being found with a stolen U-Haul in Knoxville with seven cats kept in the back without open air or open ventilation, according to an arrest report.

Tara Bowman and Shawn Martin face seven counts of animal cruelty, possession of methamphetamine, possession of illegal drug paraphernalia, simple possession and theft of property of $ 2,500 but less than 10,000 $.

According to the arrest report, the U-Haul was parked in the 2800 block of East Fifth Avenue, which was described as a known, high-drug, high-crime area. Officers saw that the truck had been listed as stolen and a traffic check was carried out. Martin and Bowman were both taken into custody and, following a search, officers found drug paraphernalia, marijuana and methamphetamine, and other drug-related items.

Bowman told officers she rented the U-Haul in September and slept there for about three weeks. She opened the back for the officers and a little kitten fell from the back of the fully loaded truck. Six other cats were also found in the back of the truck, officers say three kittens were on the loose with a jumble of large and heavy objects with trash while the others were caged.

The arrest report said the animals could have been run over at any time along with all the heavy items in the truck – it also said the animals were supposed to be in the truck during the time Bowman had the truck.

As officers extracted the cats, they began to sweat profusely from the immense heat in the back of the truck with no open air or open ventilation. The report states that the two intentionally and knowingly transported the seven cats in a cruel manner. Police said the cats were taken to the Young-Williams Animal Center for treatment.

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