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Arrest Made in Animal Abuse Case

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A trip to the park, to catch the sight of the swelling river, turned into a different outing entirely on Friday evening. Witnesses say a woman got out of a red minivan near Island Park and threw a plastic bag into the Willamette River.

“The bag was making noises, there were some meows coming out of the bag,” said Brian Austin, Springfield Police Animal Control officer.

Four officers responded immediately, including an off-duty officer that went into the river to save the cats.

“Right there at Island Park the river is extremely swift and luckily there were a couple good sized trees, the bag somehow got caught on them and we were able to retrieve it off the tree,” Austin said. “It’s a very life and death sort of situation, getting into a raging river like that, but the off-duty officer was not in uniform and was actually volunteering to go in and do it on his own, so he’s the one who kind of made it all happen for us.”

The cats are scared, but safe and cozy.

“They’re very friendly, I think that they’ve suffered from a lot of neglect,” said Austin.

The cats are Calico Himalayans, a Persian breed that tipped off investigators and community members pretty quickly.

Officers arrested Betty Gould Monday afternoon; they say she is well known for alleged animal neglect.

“She is a very well known Persian cat breeder in this area; we have located pictures of the actual exact cats that we have on her breeding website,” said Austin.

There’s a history of complaints about her breeding practices, specifically when it comes to medical issues.

Springfield Police hope they can fully investigate what’s really going on. And the community hopes so too.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much our community supports us and our animal lover community,” said Austin.

Gould faces multiple charges of animal abuse, abandonment and more.

22 comments

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  1. Ann Kathryn Kelly says:

    Thank you Springfield officers,including Officer Brian Austin and Dectective Searno- your courage and quickness in stopping this abuse of totally vulnerable victims is comforting to me.
    This woman has been breeding cats for years- that means the suffering and abuse has been going on for years. She clearly has a psychotic disorder- or schizophrenia by which she would do dangerous things to vulnerable creatures- with no concern or empathy.
    The suffering has gone on for years for the animals around her. It was likely an uncertain environment when their care taker would turn on the cats to hurt them.
    Persians are extremely sweet and gentle cats. They are loving cats -they are sometimes shy- and, like small children, they would be totally vulnerable to endangerment by a mentally ill caregiver. They do not chew wires, do not fight and are peaceful and playful.
    Protect all cats and remember they are the most vulnerable domestic animal because they are the size of a small child and cannot fight off an abuser- they can only run hide or cry. Please protect all of the feline family…thank you… Ann K Kelly

    1. Druusilla says:

      I was a victim of this horrible woman. She sold me an incredibly sick cat that I had to have put down a couple of weeks after I brought him home. She was a nightmare to deal with. I talked to many breeders who told me about her inhumane breeding practices, I wish I had known prior to dealing with her. I hope they throw the book at her. She should have been the one tossed in the river, far as I’m concerned.

    2. Bridgett Lally says:

      Ann Katherine Kelly-
      While I understand that your comments come from a place of concern and disbelief, this behavior is not indicative of Pshycosis or Schizophrenia. Comments such as yours do not help those living with mental illness; nor do they do anything to increase compassion toward or awareness of mental illnesses amongst the general public.
      Please keep your uneducated arm-chair psychiatrist diagnosis to yourself.
      Thank you

  2. Stephanie says:

    A big thank you to the Springfield police. Once again doing a great job. I personally have much to thank them for as they protected me from a domestic violence assault a couple of months ago. You hear so many bad things about the police nowadays it is nice to be able to trust our local officers.

  3. jason marks says:

    those are some cute cats.

    what is wrong with that lady anyway?

  4. tom horn says:

    she wont’ go to jail for 5 minutes, unless springfield holds her.

  5. kathleen says:

    A big thank you for to the springfield police and the detective who had a heart to help those poor cats-and that all were safe and sound-Just dont understand why someone would be so cruel to a loving vulnerable creature-in fact how anyone would be cruel to any animal-these animals (all animals) deserve to be treated with love and kindness-I think that some humans are more animalistic than the animals-If I were able I would treat the abusers the same way they treated their animals

  6. Michelle Mifflin says:

    Throw the book at her. Killing or taking life is unacceptable.

  7. Kristin says:

    This awful woman sold me one of her Persian kittens and it was very sick. I have actually been in contact with officer Austin MANY times trying to get her stopped and this is just what we needed. Karma is a bitch just like Betty!

  8. Erin says:

    Betty used to by my neighbor. We moved because of constant harassment by her. We knew she was breeding cats at her hair salon, “Hair by Betty.” Please contact me if you’d like more information.

  9. Ann Kathryn Kelly says:

    Detective Keith Seanor,

    Thank you so much for your straight forward courage which you always have. Thank you for saving those terrified animals from the rushing dangerous river. The cats must have cried so loudly to be heard in the midst of the roar of the river. Thank you for saving them.

    Ann Kathryn Kelly

  10. Ann Kathryn Kelly says:

    Important here is the whole context of abuse and abandonment of any vulnerable animals- cats, children, etc.
    They can only run and hide or cry loudly. B Gould blocked these Persian cats from running and hiding from her endangering abuse. They cried and struggled to survive.

    Other cats that have run and hide from potential and actual cruelty, abuse, abandonment and neglect are – what are called- the feral, stray cats.
    They are like abused childern who learned to run for their lives. One of the survival rules any good mother or father teaches their offspring is to run and hide from anyone who is a stranger or a potential danger. Feral cats are domestic cats who have had to learn to run and hide because they have had experience with neglect and abandonment and cruelty. They are domestic animals that deserve protection.

    1. tom jones says:

      that is a LITTLE bit dramatic.

  11. Amber Rogers says:

    Wow I know this woman .She is also a hair dresser .I always thought she was insaine just by talking to her .and hearing her stories .She has serious unstable unbalanced brain.this is how something like this can happen .If we dont do something about this she will start hurting others.It starts out with animals as we all know .I have witness this .

  12. Sheri Daniels says:

    Any person who harms an animal, will also harm a human being!

  13. Polly says:

    I want to thank the Springfiled Officers for saving the Persian Cats, I LOVE Persians they are the sweetest, gentlest, loving cats they have a personality like a child they get scared easy and they don’t forget the abuse that has been inflicted on them. I don’t understand how anyone could hurt them they really rely on people, shame on her!

  14. Suzanna says:

    As a Persian cat owner, animal lover, and human being (and an owner of one of her cats from a litter) I’m truly disgusted. If any of these cats need fostering, I’d be happy to help! Thank you Springfield Police for stopping this woman.

  15. Taylor says:

    I too have had the misfortune of dealing with Betty. I got a sick kitten from her with a twisted jaw.. I have two persians now and I don’t understand how someone could harm these poor, gentle little babies. I am in Albany, but willing to foster any! ):

  16. KC says:

    Thank you Officer Austin and the other Springfield police officers who risked their necks saving those poor cats, and thanks also to the witnesses who saw and reported what this crazy woman did. Hopefully this time Gould will be shut down as a breeder, and all the cats will find the caring, responsible homes they deserve.

  17. Lily says:

    I also bought a cat from Betty. I purchased a chocolate calico in july 2012. My calico, Scarlet is my baby. She is the most loving, loyal, laidback companion. My entire family has fallen in love with her and the breed. Imagining the horrible treatment Betty has afflicted upon These beautiful creatures just kills me. She must be truly evil to hurt such innocent, deserving fluff balls! I hope she never touches another animal!

  18. Ann says:

    When I was a student at Lane Community College and had great teachers. Some of the course I took were psychology, addiction counseling, trauma, ptsd, recovery, and seminars on the criminal mind.

    Many people suffer from stress and mental health problems- they are suffering and won’t intentionally hurt someone. But if a woman or child lives with someone who is abusive, and has mental health problems – they are in danger of being abused

    Mental health problems do not mean that a person will hurt others.

    Crime is when a person intentionally causes harm to others. They have dislodged their conscience and empathy. That breaks laws which protect the rights of other people and animals

    A really big example of this was the holocaust. People followed orders and hurt other people intentionally.
    They crossed the line and broke the laws of ethics, morality, empathy for others, and using their conscience.

    The line of conscience and empathy is critical. It has been crossed many times in history when one race of people attack another. Laws have been established through time to protect others and keep the line of ethics high so that we can all see it.

    Laws protecting animals from abuse were put into place. They were used to protect children- until finally- in the 1960’s laws were established to protect children from abuse by their parents or anyone.

  19. Julie says:

    The purpose of this group is to create a community space where concerned citizens may share stories linked to this notorious animal breeder/abuser in hopes that further concrete evidence will come forth in prosecuting her to the furthest extent of the law. In addition, it will be updated regularly as to future actions against this well known animal exploiter in hopes that the remaining 60+ cats in her “care” will be surrendered immediately. On November 30th 2012 Betty Gould (owner of Hair By Betty in Springfield and breeder with “Snowbunnies Persians”) was accused of throwing 2 friendly live adult calico Persian cats, tied inside a plastic bag, into the swelling Willamette river. “Officers arrested Betty Gould Monday afternoon. “She is a very well known Persian cat breeder in this area; we have located pictures of the actual exact cats that we have on her breeding website,” said Austin. There’s a history of complaints about her breeding practices, specifically when it comes to medical issues.” -Kelsey Card KEZI. In the evening of December 7th she was released from jail and has since resumed business at Hair by Betty Ollinger Gould ( (541) 741-6990 1790 1/2 S A St, Springfield, OR 97477). Please join the concerned animal welfare community as we continue to speak for those who can not. We will not stop until this woman has no more animals in her possession and faces the full consequences that she has coming to her.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/383041175116889/

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