Sheriff: Couple sealed 35 cats in laundry baskets inside truck without food, water
SALEM, Ore. — An Oregon couple kept 35 cats in a U-Haul truck for three days without food or water, causing three of the cats to die, according to deputies.
The Salem Police Department contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to investigate a suspected case of animal abuse Thursday.
Deputies responded to the 4800 block of Carolina Avenue Northeast and discovered the cats were kept in the truck inside laundry baskets that had been zip-tied together to keep the animals sealed in, according to investigators.
The 32 surviving cats were taken in for treatment of various ailments believed to be related to their neglect with the assistance of the Willamette Humane Society.
Richard Kleimeier, 52, and Jenny Kleimeier, 46, were arrested and booked into the Marion County Jail on charges of first-degree and second-degree animal neglect. They were both subsequently released from jail.
Deputies said Richard Kleimeier is a city of Salem employee and Jenny Kleimeier is an employee with the state of Oregon.
A spokesperson for the Salem Police Department says Richard Kleimeier has worked for the department since October 2016 and confirms he is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The spokesperson says Richard Kleimeier is a non-sworn employee assigned to the city’s Graffiti Abatement Team.
Richard and Jenny Kleimeier are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 18, 2019.
The Willamette Humane Society released a statement saying they are working closely with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on this case.
“This is the most extreme hoarding case we’ve seen in recent memory. The cats in our care range from kittens to seniors and are in varying health conditions. Right now, the health and safety of these pets is our primary concern, and we are grateful to our local law enforcement and community for caring so deeply about the welfare of our four-legged citizens,” according to the organization.