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A woman from Pennsylvania who marketed "gothic kittens" with ear, neck and tail-piercings on the internet has defended her actions.

Holly Crawford was charged with animal cruelty after her home was raided following a tip off from animal rights group Peta.

"When I did it, it wasn't with any cruel intentions," she said. "They were definitely loved, well-fed, no fleas, clipped nails, and very happy."

Police also charged a man who helped her take calls about the kittens, which were being sold online for hundreds of dollars.

The cats were given 14-gauge piercings through their ears, submission rings in their necks and one kitten's tail was docked.

Ms Crawford said she did not see any difference between piercing a cat and piercing a human being.

She says she used sterile needles to pierce the animals and made sure they healed properly.

The vice-president of Peta, Daphna Nachminovitch, described Ms Crawford's actions as 'barbaric'.

"There's no excuse for inflicting such pain on an animal that's the size of your palm," she said.

Ms Crawford says her dog grooming business is now in serious trouble and she has received dozens of abusive phone calls.

"My name's ruined, my reputation's ruined and my business is ruined," she said.


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