SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Persian cat breeder accused of throwing two cats into the Willamette River was in court Tuesday.
Betty Ann Gould, 62, faces animal abuse and animal abandonment charges.
We caught up with the woman who says she witnessed Gould dump a plastic bag containing the cats in the river. She says she was feet away from Gould when it happened.
“As we came around, I saw a red van parked here, and I saw a lady throw a bag into the river. She smiled and waved at me, drove away and I looked and saw that it was a cat,” said Springfield resident Kelsey Higgs.
It’s a story that Higgs says will continue to haunt her.
Springfield police believe that lady is Betty Gould, a well-known Persian cat breeder. Gould made her first court appearance Tuesday. As the judge read her charges, she appeared to roll her eyes.
Higgs says she’s an animal lover and that may have been what saved these cats.
“Out of nowhere I wanted to come down and walk my dog, so I kind of feel like it was meant to be that I was meant to find them,” Higgs said.
When she did, she called Springfield police. Four officers arrived. Detective Keith Seanor went in waist deep and saved the cats.
The cats are safe and very friendly, but officers say they were clearly neglected.
“I fear more cats are doing to end up dead or hurt or in the river. And I’m sure this isn’t the first time she’s done it,” Higgs said.
Springfield police hope to search Gould’s home to see if she has any other cats and check their condition.
Gould owns The Hair Den in Springfield. Although the sign was on, no one was there.
When the judge read her bail at $4,500, she seemed distressed and said she owns a salon and is the only one working there.
“I know the jail system doesn’t have the money right now ,but you would think they could keep her in there so she can’t do that to another animal right now. She’ll do it again,” Higgs said.
Springfield police has not checked Gould’s house for any other cats or their possible conditions. They may not be able to do anything until these charges play out.