PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two Salem residents were arraigned on Wednesday for the alleged neglect and abuse of 87 cats found at a home on Larkspur Lane in September.
The residents, 53-year-old Sherie Adams and 52-year-old Mitchell Farm, were formally charged with 87 counts of animal neglect in the second degree — a Class C felony that alleges the pair intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused physical injury to the animals living at the Salem home.
Prosecuting attorney Jake Kamins, who handles animal cruelty cases throughout the state, told KOIN 6 News that Adams and Farm failed to provide the minimum amount of animal care required under state law.
“The allegations are that they criminally, negligently failed to provide what Oregon law calls ‘minimum care’ for animals in their custody or control,” Kamins explained. “Minimum care is broadly defined as ‘care sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of an animal.’ It includes things such as sufficient food, access to drinkable water and adequate shelter. Under Oregon law, animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear, and should be cared for in ways that minimize pain, stress, fear and suffering.”
If convicted, Kamins said that Adams and Farm could face sentences of three to five years in prison and up to five years of probation, depending on criminal history. The defendants could also be dealt fines of $125,000 each, plus restitution for rescue expenses accrued by the Salem Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Humane Society.
Oregon Humane Society spokesperson Laura Klink told KOIN 6 News that the cats were all initially housed at the OHS’ Salem campus. Cats suffering from more serious health problems were transferred to the organization’s Portland campus for medical treatment.
“The health of the cats and kittens is typical of what we see when they are living in overcrowded conditions: upper respiratory infections, eye infections, weight loss, dental disease, fleas and skin conditions,” Klink said. “Some have required surgery and other medical treatment. Some were transferred to the Portland campus for continued medical care or to spend time in a foster home.”
All but three of the 87 cats survived, Klink said. One cat arrived to OHS deceased, one was euthanized by a veterinarian, and one young, orphaned kitten also died.
Many of the rescued cats are now available for adoption at the OHS Salem campus. Interested adopters can learn more about the adoption process through the OHS website.
Adams and Farm are currently on pre-trial release with conditions that they don’t possess, purchase or come into contact with any animals.