NEWS 8 – Members of the First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma are trying to recover from the shock they received when they found out that their potluck committee chairman had been tainting the church meals with cat meat. Janice Swinehart, 83, had been chairman of the potluck committee for the last 15 years. She had earned the trust of the church members and made dishes for hundreds of events which attendees called “delicious and unique.”
“I just couldn’t put my finger on the taste,” said Tammy Murphy, church member. “But I always thought it was unique. When I would ask Janice what her secret was, she said she received seasonings from all over the world that most Americans were not used to tasting. What a liar she was! I can’t believe I was eating stray cats this whole entire time.” It wasn’t until one of Swinehart’s neighbors called animal control to complain about the number of cats being housed by the elderly woman. When animal control arrived at the home, Swinehart reluctantly let them into the property. Upon searching the premises, authorities found nearly 80 live cats, several skinned cats in the freezer, and one cat that looked to be “frozen alive” in a large plastic bag. When the woman was asked about the cats in the freezer, she confessed that she had been using them over several years in the dishes she was preparing for the church.
“I bring in stray cats that have nowhere to go,” Swinehart said in her recorded statement. “But when they get older, and unable to move, I put them out of their misery… humanely. But why am I going to let them go to waste? We have so many starving people in the world and meat is meat. I don’t care what anybody says. Everybody at the church loved it, but now they want to complain. What a bunch of ungrateful bastards.”
Authorities say they are not sure where all 118 cats came from, but wanted to assure the community that it is still legal to kill and eat cats. It is also illegal in the state of Oklahoma to house more than 8 cats in one home. Swinehart was arrested and released on a $1500 bond.