Shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, June 25, the lobby at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS) was packed with adults of all ages, families with children, single individuals, and those hoping to take advantage of the deeply discounted adoption costs of all adult cats over the age of six months, even those who were not part of the rescue. OHS will be offering an adoption fee of 95 cents through Sunday, June 28. The adoption event was created in honor of 95 felines the shelter took possession of on June 22. David Lytle, Spokesperson for OHS said, “95 cats came up from southern Oregon into Portland and really stressed our shelter out and put us at capacity for the number of cats that we can care for, so we got very inventive and said we will do a sale for all cats at 95 cents in honor of these 95 rescue cats.”
On June 15, Klamath County Animal Control confiscated 98 cats from 63-year-old John H. Todd. Todd, a resident of Chiloquin, faces 98 counts of animal neglect. First-degree animal neglect charges are a Class C Felony when they involve more than 10 animals and can result in up to five years in prison, a $125,000 fine, or both.
Oregon’s Cruelty to Animals Statutes state pet or domestic animals must receive minimum care. “Minimum care” means care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal and, except for emergencies or circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the owner, includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements: food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight: open or adequate access to potable water in sufficient quantity to satisfy the animal’s needs: veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease: pet or domestic animals shall not be confined to an area without adequate space for exercise necessary for the health of the animal or which does not allow access to a dry place for the animal to rest. Confinement areas must be kept reasonably clean and free from excess waste or other contaminants which could affect the animal’s health.
Todd had sectioned his home into 19 rooms in order to keep sick and healthy cats apart. According to a statement given to The Oregonian Todd felt the animals were like family and he was not neglectful in his care. Todd has since filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Medford against Klamath County, the county Animal Control office, and Officer Gale McMahon, who led the June 15 seizure.
Lytle said, “He (Todd) voluntarily relinquished ownership because he knew that they were going to come to OHS and they would find homes. We do not euthanize pets. They stay here as long as possible.”
Of the 95 cats taken by OHS 15 were healthy enough to be a part of the adoption event. The remaining cats will not be available for another three to four weeks. “The most common medical condition we are seeing in these cats is dental issues,” Lytle said. “Dental issues are common in animals with a poor diet.” OHS has an onsite veterinarian staff who will work to improve the health of the remaining cats in order to place them into prospective homes.
Kaleb Cook, a Portland resident, was attending OHS’ adoption event in the hopes of adding a new member to his home. “My girlfriend (Christina) wants a cat, so I’m here to see if hopefully we can find one which will be fitting. Christina doesn’t know I’m here,” Cook said. Cook spent time with Ramona, one of the 15 Chiloquin cats, who was more than happy to receive his attention.
Emily Thomas, an animal care technician for four years at OHS, stated in her time working at the facility she had only experienced one other hoarding case of this magnitude. Social issues are common in animals seized from extreme hoarding environments as the animals are provided limited interaction. Thomas said, “I think they (the Chiloquin cats) are really social. Compared to the first case I helped with, much more social. They are top-notch.”
If you aren’t able to take advantage of the adoption event this weekend Lytle confirmed once the remaining cats are healthy they will once again offer another event featuring the 95 cent adoption fee. If you are interested in visiting OHS to have a meet and greet with animals currently available for adoption, the facility is located at 1067 NE Columbia Blvd., in Portland. Adoption hours are Sunday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.. You can also preview animals in need of homes and review the adoption process by visiting the OHS website, http://www.oregonhumane.org.