- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) - A Chiloquin man has filed suit against Klamath County after authorities seized his 98 cats, which he said were taken without due process.

John H. Todd, 63, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Medford, reports the Herald and News (https://bit.ly/1JgDLyE). He said county officials were acting outside their authority when they served Todd a search warrant at his residence on June 15.

According to Todd, that warrant authorized collecting veterinary records but not the pets themselves. He says the search was used as a pretext to invade his privacy.

His lawsuit lists the county, Klamath County Animal Control and Assistant Animal Control Officer Gale McMahon as defendants.

Animal control officers have said they are unable to confirm the warrant’s content at this time.

McMahon confirmed Monday that he and his office were served with the lawsuit but referred any additional questions to the district attorney.

In an earlier news release, McMahon said his officer is seeking felony charges against Todd.

District Attorney Rob Patridge confirmed that his office received reports from KCAC Monday morning and he said he could not comment on specifics. He said the lawsuit was being handled by County Counsel Dave Groff.

It will take some time to review the reports from KCAC, said Patridge on Monday, so he’s not sure when any potential charges against Todd would be filed.

Todd says his pets were in no danger when they were seized by authorities.

“I did the best I could, and I loved them,” he said, describing his animals as members of his family. “I didn’t mistreat them. They had food, they had water, they had medical care.”

He said he ended up with 98 cats because he couldn’t find local no-kill shelters to help relocate the felines. He said he would be ok giving up the cats if they were re-housed, and is frustrated that authorities didn’t make a greater effort to work with him before taking the animals.

“I really think that there could have been a better solution,” he said.

All 98 cats were shipped to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland after they were removed from Todd’s property.

In a news release published Monday, OHS called the relocation “one of the largest pet rescues in Oregon history.”

Todd says he is ok with the animals being sent to live elsewhere, but would still like to see a few of them back because they had been with him for more than a decade.

Seeing them taken away “broke my heart,” he said.

“Those animals were my life. They made me complete.”

___

Information from: Herald and News, https://www.heraldandnews.com

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