SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — After Betty Gould, a local cat breeder, was accused of tossing two animals in the river, Springfield police are looking into other tips about similar dumping cases, with similar suspect descriptions.
“People that have found other Persians in the same area that this incident occurred,” said Brian Austin, Springfield Animal Control Officer.
Springfield police are dealing with multiple calls and e-mails about cases similar to the one that happened last week, when Betty Gould allegedly threw two Persian cats into the Willamette River.
“We’ve also received calls from people that have given us descriptions similar to Ms. Gould and also to her vehicle, where they’ve seen cats dumped,” said Brian Austin, Springfield Animal Control Officer.
This past summer someone found a grey Persian cat floating in the Willamette River, thought to be thrown in. In another case three weeks ago, someone saw a kitten dropped from a car window in the middle of traffic.
“Got her license plate number and we think that may have been Betty also,” said Erin Smith, Lifetime Tattoo Owner.
Lifetime Tattoo Owner Erin Smith says a friend rescued that kitten. Smith says she knew Gould well, after running into several legal issues with her while they ran neighboring businesses.
“It’s illegal to have animals in a salon or a tattoo parlor so we know the laws really well, she was selling them out of her salon,” said Smith.
Investigators say she raises the cats in her home. They searched the house and found more than 60 cats, half roaming and half in crates, Springfield Police say they are being adequately cared for.
“We will be looking with the prosecutor to work out something for her to voluntarily surrender the cats. Her attitude is what’s gonna either help this process through or completely stall it for a while,” said Brian Austin, Springfield Animal Control Officer.
If Gould’s lawyer and the Springfield prosecutor come to an agreement, the cats could be taken out of her home very soon. The Humane Society and a Persian Cat rescue have offered their resources to help. But, the cats could be left in Gould’s home and possibly under her care if she gets released from jail, until the case is resolved, which could take months.
In regards to the recent case against Gould, a longtime rescuer will adopt the two Calico Persian cats who were thrown into the river. Springfield resident Marciann Yantz says she didn’t want to see the cats separated. She says she was appalled when she heard the story and wanted to give the cats a good home.
“We all need to take an active role and make sure that the pets we love and the pets that aren’t loved are taken care of,” said Yantz.
The cats are being treated for some of their health issues, including an eye infection and fleas; they’ll head to their new home Thursday.