ABC KSAT12 reports that a couple in Salem, Oregon is now being investigated for alleged animal abuse. According to deputies at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, 35 cats were found inside a U-Haul truck after having been kept there without food or water for three entire days. Authorities have stated that three of the cats died due to this circumstance.

According to the investigators currently looking into what is being called a case of suspected animal abuse, the felines were zip tied inside of laundry baskets, sealed completely inside. The 32 surviving cats have been taken to the Willamette Humane Society for treatment of various ailments that are stated as believed to be from neglect.

The couple has been publicly identified as 52 year-old Richard Kleimeier and 46 year-old Jenny Kleimeier. Both were arrested and booked on charges of first degree and second degree animal neglect, and were briefly detained in Marion County Jail. The couple has since been released from jail, cites ABC KSTAT12. Richard Kleimerier has been noted as being an employee with the state of Oregon for the past two years, and a spokesperson for the Salem Police Department came forward, confirming that Kleimeier has been laced on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”

The human society, Willamette Humane Society, spoke with reporters, remarking on their feelings of the cats’ condition and the overall circumstance.

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“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.”

The Oregon Humane Society has a webpage dedicated to explaining how to report animal cruelty and provides contact information for local sheriff’s departments and other animal services for each county in the state of Oregon. They also have a message to those who need to report perceived animal neglect:

“If your report is about an emergency involving an animal needing immediate assistance, such as an animal in a hot car, please call your local animal control or police agency. If your report is about issues such as barking dogs, animals running loose or animal bites, please call your local animal control agency.”

Other resources and references for animal cruelty laws are also listed on the website, linking out to the OHS Oregon Animal Cruelty Laws Handbook as well as the Guidelines to Oregon Animal Statutes.

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