PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland woman has been convicted of criminal negligence after her cat nearly died from what are thought to be chemical burns.
Marlene Hsieh took her cat Muzi to a pet hospital in southwest Portland in January 2019. Veterinarians discovered burns that appeared to be at least a few weeks old.
“The left side of Muzi’s face was missing fur, covered in scabs and Muzi was unable to open her left eye,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Maddie Loeb. “Muzi’s right hind foot had lost its claws, pads and toes, leaving bones exposed.”
The pet hospital staff determined that the cat needed immediate attention as “she was in extensive pain and risked death if care was not provided right away.” Hsieh, however, refused treatment for her cat. She eventually left the hospital with Muzi, pain meds and antibiotics.
Multnomah County Animal Services were called and contacted Hsieh later that day. They evaluated Hsieh’s residence and concluded it was best to remove Muzi based on their findings and the information relayed to them.
Muzi was taken to the DoveLewis Veterinary Hospital where she made “the best recovery possible.” Although the vets were not able to determine the exact cause of the burns, they believe it was the result of a chemical substance. Five veterinarians testified Muzi was “unduly suffering” after being chemically burned and was then left untreated for at least a week.
Hsieh’s conviction was announced on Tuesday after a nearly year-long investigation. She was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered her to complete 40 hours of community service.
Muzi will be rehomed along with Hsieh’s 3 other cats.