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Cat owner facing animal neglect charges headed to court in September

A 36-year-old Murrayhill woman will appear next month in Washington County Circuit Court for several animal neglect charges.

Beaverton police July 27 cited Jennifer Meagan Gaines with 31 counts of second-degree animal neglect, eight counts of first-degree animal neglect, first-degree criminal mistreatment and second-degree child neglect.

The charges were prompted by a June 9 incident where nearly three-dozen cats, from young kittens to older adult felines, were seized from Gaines' home, 14337 S.W. Teal Blvd. Apt. 78B.

Many of the cats were in terrible shape, with health problems ranging from eye ulcers and respiratory infections to ear mites and dehydration. Four of the cats were pregnant.

Beaverton police investigated the case after a concerned neighbor reported a suspicious odor coming from the apartment next door.

Officer Ryan Potter met with the witness, who took him into her apartment and garage where he could smell a strong ammonia odor apparently coming from the shared walls connecting the units.

The two walked outside to inspect something seeping from the bottom of the neighbor's attached garage that smelled like cat urine.

Because of the distinct ammonia odor and the neighbor's concern for two children residing in the smelly home, Officer Mark Groshong joined the investigation.

After gaining the tenant's permission, the two officers walked through the woman's apartment where they were overwhelmed by the stench.

A search of the home revealed about 15 cats in the garage, several more in the upstairs bedrooms and floors soaked with cat urine.

At the time, Gaines reportedly told police that she took in three pregnant stray cats about eight months prior. Those cats had kittens, which in turn had litters of their own.

Many of the kittens were three to six months old. There also was another group that was six to 10 months old.

Sgt. Robert Davis and Sgt. Darren Fletchall went to the apartment and called Larry McClintock of Critter Gitter to remove the adult cats and kittens. Fletchall helped McClintock round up all 31 felines.

The cats were taken to the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter in Hillsboro for evaluation and placed in protective custody.

Eleven cats suffered from conjunctivitis and 10 were dehydrated. Three felines had active corneal ulcers and four others had healing corneal ulcers, which could lead to blindness, said Karen Riley of Washington County Animal Control.

One cat had a wound that required the amputation of its tail.

The case was forwarded to the Washington County district attorney's office for review. Criminal charges were decided last week, and Officer Potter returned to Gaines' apartment to cite and release her.

Gaines will appear in court to face the charges at 9 a.m. Sept. 5.