HOLLADAY — A woman who prosecutors say killed her family's pet cat in front of her children now faces multiple charges.
Ariane Christine Borg, 38, of Holladay, was charged Jan. 17 in 3rd District Court with child abuse, a second-degree felony; torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony; and two counts of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor.
A $100,000 warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on that warrant on Saturday.
Her attorney, Steven Burton, said his client has made great strides in dealing with mental illness since the alleged incident four months ago, and it's disappointing that she is now being charged, arrested and re-victimized.
On Sept. 25, Unified police were called to Borg's home where two children, ages 10 and 16, reported their mother was "going crazy," according to charging documents.
"Both children were found crying hysterically," and told the responding officers that Borg "'beat their cat over and over again' and snapped its neck," the charges state.
One child told investigators that she saw Borg "hold the cat by the legs and pound it repeatedly on a table," the charges state.
When officers found Borg in the house, she had to be taken to a local hospital to be treated for self-inflicted stab wounds, the charges state.
Due to the events, a therapist diagnosed one of the children with suffering "multiple types of abuse/trauma at the hands of her mother" for the events of that night.
Burton said his client is known as a loving mother who has battled with depression most of her life.
"Last July, her doctor adjusted her medications and her mental health began spiraling downward. In September, the week before she was arrested, the police were called multiple times to assist with her mental health crisis but no meaningful help was provided. Because of the changes in medication and a lack of mental health treatment, Ariane suffered a critical manic episode. She believed that she and her family were being attacked and she injured herself and a beloved family pet while suffering from those delusions," he said in a statement.
Burton said Borg has successfully responded to treatment since October and has returned to her normal self. That's why he said it is "devastating" to be criminally charged without warning and arrested by a team of U.S. marshals who showed up at her door late at night with a warrant.6 comments on this story
"It is disappointing to see that after all we have learned about mental illness, our system still re-victimizes those who are struggling and increases the risk that they will suffer further setbacks. We hope that those who see this story will urge law enforcement, prosecutors, the media and the Legislature to improve the way we treat mental illness so we can help those who are sick before they reach a point of crisis and tragedy," Burton said.
An initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.
A hotline for children suspected of being abused or neglected is available 24/7 at 1-855-323-3237. If someone is dealing with mental illness, the Utah Statewide Crisis number is 801-387-3000.