Cat breeder arrested, accused of animal abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield woman who breeds cats was arrested Monday afternoon for allegedly throwing two cats into the Willamette River, Police said.

Witnesses said that two abandoned Persian cats were found inside of a trash bag that was snagged on a tree branch near Island Park.

Responding officers from SPD immediately set to work trying to rescue the cats from the Willamette. They managed to retrieve both felines, who officials said were scared but safe.

Further investigation lead police to Betty Ann Gould, a Springfield cat breeder who handles similar breeds of Persians. Police officials detained her Monday for attempted aggravated animal abuse.

Gould plead not guilty to attempted animal abuse on Wednesday.

Police said that Gould had several cats in her care at the time of the arrest. Brian Austin with the Springfield Animal Control said that they are now working to transfer those cats into their custody.

"We cannot take the cats until we have a court order to do so," Austin said. "Until she is convicted of this crime we will not be able to do anything officially. We will hopefully try to talk her into surrendering the cats so we can get them to good homes."

Austin said the cats (who are sisters) are both healthy and are nearly inseparable.

Both of the Persians will be put up for adoption after a full investigation of the incident is completed.