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Springfield Cat Breeder Arraigned

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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.

13 comments

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  1. Carrie Blaney says:

    She gives local cat breeders a BAD name!! We try our best to make sure that our cats are healthy and happy and go to loving homes where they will be pampered! What a heartbreaking situation for these poor fur babies. I have participated in rescues from breeders that got in too deep…when that happens it’s hard to ask for help but vulnerable, defenseless animals that can’t talk deserve better. I’m sure this woman’s house reeks like urine and feces and I GUARANTEE somebody knows about it. She has had a terrible reputation in the cat world of Lane county for quite some time now…

  2. Vetzero says:

    Unfortunate.

    What a strange way to go out of business.

  3. Tami says:

    Betty owns hair by Betty not the hair den that is owned by someone else!!

    1. KEZI Staff says:

      Our reporter says that the salon is also called Hair by Betty.

  4. amber rogers says:

    She Has more in the home .Meanwhile who is feeding and taking care of them?

  5. Gail Cook says:

    I agree with Amber…has animal control been notified to go see if the other animals have food and water?

  6. life with out a journey says:

    :(

  7. Never heard of this breeder says:

    That is such a beautiful Persian cat, what in the world was this woman thinking to throw it in the river? so many people would have loved to have that cat and love it. What is this womans cattery name if she has one? I have never heard of her. I am from the eastern part of the country though. At the very least I hope she is not allowed to own anymore pets. and I hope they find out why she did this in the first place. So glad that beautiful cat was saved!

  8. Why? says:

    This is NOT what breeders would do. What is wrong with this woman? And the cat in the photo was so beautiful, and they say very friendly. She could easily have found a home for her if she could not keep her for some reason. Bet there is lots more to this story.

  9. stephanie says:

    I called Betty about purchasing a kitten about a year ago. She tried to tell me the kitten was a rescue and that was why she was only charging $100 for it. She apparently doesn’t keep track of her phone calls so she called me back about a week later and fed me another line that it was intended to be a show kitten but there was a minor fault that would inhibit it’s show career…the price then was $300! (same kitten). I wanted to come see what she had (first phone call she said she had kittens from two different litters, red flag number one), but she would not let me visit her home to see the cats and the condition they lived in. She acted defensive when I asked her about the cats’ health and temperament, pedigree, etc., and finally she told me the only one she had was a black male kitten.

    I didn’t want a black kitten or a male kitten for that matter, and when I told her that for the umpteenth time, she cussed me on the phone. Called back two days later (not keeping track of who she’s talked to) and left me message after message on my voicemail about meeting her at the salon to pick up this cat and to make sure I brought cash! She admitted during one phone call that the black male had circular lesions on his body and told me to make sure I got some fungicide spray for him (he probably had ringworm).

    Bad news all over this. This woman needs a mental evaluation. Her house needs to be searched and I hope whatever cats they find there get a new home. Can’t imagine what conditions they live in.

  10. extraears says:

    I hope this serves as a reminder to people who are buying pets from breeders: Do your homework! Either adopt from a rescue or make sure you are buying from a good, reputable breeder with good reference and check out their kennels/cattery! If they won’t show it to you, don’t buy one of their animals. Don’t buy from pet stores (except for the very few who actually deal with rescues – ask for proof if it’s not blatantly obvious). Caveat emptor! And god help those poor kitties. They may not have the space to keep her in jail, but I’d love to see every cat taken from her and the court sentence her to cleaning kennels, or shoving manure for years and forbid her to ever own another animal!

  11. Taylor says:

    Betty owns the cattery called Snow Bunnies Persians.. She is still posting cats and kittens for sale on oregonlive.com! Her home needs to be searched.. I highly doubt the cats are getting the care they need, and she shouldn’t even be able to own animals after throwing the poor things in the river!

  12. Barbie Blair says:

    You want to hear a real one….she’s been using a picture of my Blue Cream Smoke Persian on her site !!! I just found out about it a couple of months ago due to my cat being so popular that my friends track sites to see who is using his picture….yes..I said “HIS”……..I guess that his colouring is almost impossible for a male cat (XXY) so this is why people steal his picture. I am advising the internet to have her remove my picture of him today. Reading these other comments, I can now understand why she wouldn’t care about using someone’s cat picture without their permission. Sad.

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