Content warning: This story includes mention of animal abuse and death.
At the end of my freshman year, I was scrambling to find a place to live with my miniscule budget. I ended up in an off-campus apartment: a 4-bedroom with 3 random roommates, the most affordable option I could find in my rush to sign a lease.
Though the apartment had 4 rooms, only 3 of us actually ended up moving in: L, M, and me. I had exactly one conversation with L, wherein she disclosed details about her (unprotected) sex life. She moved out shortly after without saying anything, leaving just M and me in our apartment.
One day, I came home to two kittens, probably 6-8 weeks old. One had an eye infection and both were covered in fleas. H was there, smoking weed inside on the couch, not really paying attention to the cats.
Being a total cat lover, I wasn’t really upset at first, even though having 2 pets in one apartment violated our lease. She told me that she had registered them with the apartment, so I figured she’d found a loophole or something. A few weeks later our apartment was inspected, and I received an email that unregistered animals had been found in our apartment, along with a $25 charge. I went to the office and told them they were not my cats, but I was told that the owner of the animals needed to claim them before the charges could be dropped. I confronted H. She told me she would claim them--which never happened. I ended up paying the fee, and she promised she’d venmo me--which also never happened.
Over the summer before I moved in, I had fostered a kitten who had fleas, so I was eager to offer M help with de-fleaing the kittens. I told her what products to purchase and basically said that if she bought the products I’d apply it to them and comb them. She never made any effort to get rid of the fleas, so I ended up buying the kitten-friendly flea medicine and de-fleaing them myself.
Whenever I got back from class, the kittens would be starving with an empty food bowl, going so far as to jump all over me and claw my legs when I went to feed them. She typically fed them dry food so I would buy them wet food to give them a balanced diet.
One day I came home from work and I could hear a dog whining in her bedroom. I felt panicked and upset that a dog was being kept locked in such a small place, but I did not do or say anything, which I regret. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and reasoned that she may have been pet-sitting for someone.
The next day I came home to M crying in the kitchen. I asked her what was wrong and she told me, “I brought a dog here, he was behind the dollar general parking lot. He got out of the room and he killed the cats.” Thus began one of the worst nights of my life.
I packed a bag and left the apartment with no intention of returning. I spent the night sobbing and feeling so guilty over these lost lives. The next day I went to the office and told them everything that had happened. At that time they told me that there was no proof that she had done anything and I could transfer apartments if I wanted to. I was so angry because if I transferred, that would mean that she’d get this 4 bedroom apartment all to herself. That did not feel like justice to me, so I continued to advocate for myself with the goal of them evicting her or transferring her out. During this time, I was staying with my partner. It took around 2 months, but eventually she moved out and I could return to the apartment. When I finally went back, It was totally trashed, with my own dishes that she’d left in the sink to mold and my favorite plate being used as an ashtray, with ashes all over the table and furniture. She had left several of her belongings, which gave me anxiety until the day I moved out, wondering if she was ever coming back. The worst of all was a single dead rose in the kitchen.