Created: 05/20/2014 10:28 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A southeast Albuquerque man, fed up with cat urine and feces in his yard, set up traps and surveillance cameras and caught his neighbor – a former police officer – trespassing in the middle of the night.
Ben Sanchez said he never had an issue with the neighbor, Jean Kerdock-Locke, but over the last few years his distaste for her dozen or more cats has created a battle of biblical proportions.
"Once my neighbor saw the cat trap, she just like made me her number one enemy," Sanchez said. "She even went so far as to say, ‘you're like Judas who betrayed Jesus.'"
He said Kerdock-Locke has an "obsession" with cats.
"In the morning, you see them running all over. In the afternoon she's feeding them -- it's just what she spends her time doing," he said.
Initially, Sanchez said he successfully captured the cats and took them to a shelter. But eventually, he said he found the traps empty though it was evident cats had been inside them.
With the help of a new surveillance system he purchased in January 2013, Sanchez found Kerdock-Locke retrieving the cats early in the morning – between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. – on several occasions. In one instance she tried to disguise herself by holding a sweater over her head while she freed a cat in Sanchez's front yard. In another instance, she walked onto Sanchez's front porch to rescue a cat in a trap there.
Sanchez said his young daughter has severe cat allergies and has suffered from the cats several times before.
"The issue is I wanted to keep the cats off the property. I didn't buy my house to have it turned into a litter box. And I want my kids to be able to play in their backyard without getting allergic reactions," he said.
Kerdock-Locke faces a criminal trespass charge for walking onto Sanchez's property in August. She was in court on Tuesday. She declined to comment to KOB Eyewitness News 4 after her court appearance. Her case was continued to a later date.
Just this past weekend, Sanchez said Kerdock-Locke followed him to the grocery store and called 911 claiming he had dead cats in the back of his truck. Indeed, he did not.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 requested the 911 calls from emergency dispatchers and will share them once they become available.
"She needs to respect private property. Keep your animals off the property, and keep yourself off the property," Sanchez said.