On Thursday, January 2, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a residence in the 4600 block of Hummel Drive in Orcutt to a report of an animal cruelty case. A male resident called 9-1-1 to report that his girlfriend, 43 year old Nellie Marie Palacios of Santa Maria, had gone into a home which she said belonged to her cousin, and was removing paintings off the walls. He also said he witnessed her choking a cat at the residence and stabbing it with a large kitchen knife. When Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the property, they discovered Palacios in the yard and detained her. They then found the cat nearby in an Igloo style doghouse. The cat had been fatally injured as a result of being stabbed. The knife which was used in the attack was located under the doghouse covered with blood and cat hair. Palacios said the cat attacked her and she was acting in self defense. Sheriff’s Deputies determined the residence did not belong to her cousin but was the home of her ex-boyfriend. Several paintings from the home and other items from the residence were discovered in Palacios’ car. Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Palacios on charges of burglary and animal cruelty. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment of scratches and then transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail. Her bail was set at $50,000.