Kelly House cat hoarder convicted of animal cruelty, may appeal

 A tip to the PSPCA's animal-cruelty line drew investigators to the Kelly home on Halloween. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

A tip to the PSPCA's animal-cruelty line drew investigators to the Kelly home on Halloween. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

The East Falls woman who rose to notoriety for hoarding cats in the former childhood home of Princess Grace Kelly was convicted on 16 counts of animal cruelty on Wednesday.

Marjorie Bamont, 82, was a no-show at her summary trial before Judge Frank Brady. As a result, she 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.

The back story

As reported by NewsWorks, 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 PSPCA. Lawton purchased the home from Grace Kelly’s mother, Margaret Kelly, three years earlier.

Inside, agents from the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported finding fleas and feces throughout the house. Bamont was taken into police custody that day, and “involuntarily committed” for psychiatric evaluations.

The trial scene

With Bamont absent on Wednesday, prosecutor Barbara Paul successfully asked Judge Brady to order Bamont to pay $10,000 in restitution to the PSPCA.

In addition, Bamont was banned from owning animals for approximately four years, and must allow PSPCA the periodically inspect her home.

Lastly, Paul requested that Bamont formally surrender the 14 cats and one dog seized in October to the PSPCA.

Speaking after the trial, Paul suggested that the no-show was a ploy by Bamont and her attorney, Jack McMahon, who have 30 days to file an appeal. If appealed, the case would likely end up in the Court of Common Pleas.

McMahon was not available for comment on Thursday afternoon, but a representative from his office said that the absence resulted from a clerical error and an illness from which Bamont was suffering. The representative, who declined to identify herself, said that an appeal would be filed based solely on her office’s clerical oversight, “nothing more or less.”

If the appeal is overturned, the 15 animals in PSPCA custody will go up for adoption.

A statement is expected for release by the PSPCA this afternoon. This story will be updated when it arrives.

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