May 18, 2021
Brent Weisberg, Communications Director
DA Mike Schmidt announces criminal charges in animal neglect case
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced the filing of a 185-count charging document against the owners of Woofin Palooza LLC for the alleged inappropriate housing and confinement of more than 100 dogs and cats that resulted in criminal animal neglect.
Tori Head and Samantha Miller are both charged with 157 counts of Animal Neglect in the Second Degree, 13 counts of Identity Theft and 15 counts of Forgery in the Second Degree.
According to court documents, Woofin Palooza LLC, located in the 2300 block of Northeast 82nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon, is a training, boarding, rescue and daycare for pets.
During the summer of 2020, Multnomah County Animal Services launched an investigation after receiving complaints about the conditions at Woofin Palooza LLC.
On August 1, 2020, Multnomah County Animal Services conducted a boarding facility inspection, according to court documents. The investigating officer noted it appeared Woofin Palooza LLC was getting overwhelmed with all the animals in their possession, based on the conditions observed inside the business.
On August 11, 2020, Multnomah County Animal Services, in coordination with Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, executed a search warrant at Woofin Palooza LLC.
A veterinarian who accompanied the search warrant team reported the following, according to court documents:
- Cats were “housed in kennels or spaces that [were] not appropriate in size or number to provide adequate space.”
- While the dog kennels “allowed for dogs to stand, turn around and lay down,” several “contained too many dogs for the space allotted and no kennels were double sided to allow dogs to eliminate away from their bedding or food.”
- Both cats and dogs were “inappropriately housed as naïve animals (those with immature immune systems, including nursing puppies/kittens, young dogs/cats)” in “close or direct contact with adult animals of varying ages/sizes.” This risks the spread of multiple infectious diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
- Cats and dogs were “inappropriately housed in the same location leading to stress, increasing the chances of immune system suppression which will contribute to the spread of infectious disease.”
- The facility was “unkempt with feces and urine on the floors of animal enclosures, litter throughout the kennels and flooring, and storage of dirty kennels on top of currently occupied kennels.” Occupied and soiled kennels stacked on top of other kennels “allows for urine and feces to run from one kennel into another, which can lead to the spread of pathogens.”
During the August 11, 2020 search warrant, Multnomah County Animal Services seized 117 animals.
According to court documents, as the investigation continued, it became clear that the documentation of vaccinations that was given out with many adopted animals was fraudulent bearing the name and/or signature of various veterinarians.
Many of the animals in the custody of Woofin Palooza LLC contracted illnesses and diseases, which resulted in health complications leading to death, according to court documents.
This case is being prosecuted by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Harris, who is responsible for litigating nearly all of the animal neglect and abuse cases in Multnomah County.
Benton County Animal Cruelty Deputy District Attorney Jacob Kamins, who specializes in the prosecution of animal cruelty cases throughout Oregon, is assisting with the criminal litigation.
A full copy of the probable cause affidavit filed in this case can be obtained using the Oregon eCourt Information (OECI) system.
A charging document is only an accusation of a crime. Head and Miller are innocent unless and until proven guilty.