Kara Madison was arrested after an investigation of her home revealed multiple incidents of neglect

PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT - Eighteen rabbits were rescued following an animal abuse case in Prineville.

A Prineville woman was arrested and is facing multiple felony animal abuse counts following a recent investigation at her home.

Kara Madison, age 37, was arrested last month after an animal abuse complaint that police responded to on Feb. 3. According to Prineville Police Captain Larry Seymour, she had failed to properly care for a large amount of animals at her Northwest Seventh Street home.

The investigation, which involved "a chicken, goat, cats, numerous dogs and a plethora of rabbits (alive and dead)," determined that Madison had failed to provide the proper care for almost all of the rabbits.

"The conditions and care the animals were raised in ranged from the following: feces covered bedding, extended periods of no water or food, missing hair, various types of infections and disease to the point several animals died," Seymour stated. "The animals suffered from infection causing loss of vision and hair, open wounds and disease. Animals were so starved, they began eating their own feces to survive."

After documenting conditions, police officers seized 18 live rabbits that needed immediate care to survive, as well as seven dead rabbits, one of which was sent in for a necropsy.

Madison was arrested after the initial investigation and charged with first-degree animal abuse and first-degree animal neglect. She was released following her arrest, and given a conditional release and court date by the jail.

On Feb. 23, Madison was indicted by grand jury on nine counts of first-degree animal neglect, and she remains out of jail on conditional release, pending her next court appearance.

Seymour said that by working with the Crook County District Attorney's Office and Humane Society of the Ochocos, police were able to get a judgment of forfeiture on all of the surviving rabbits, eventually making them eligible for adoption.

"All of the live rabbits were graciously accepted by our own local no-kill humane society," Seymour said.

Since their arrival at the shelter, volunteers and HSO staff have nursed the rabbits back to health, although it has come at a considerable cost. Executive Director Heather O'Daniel said the total expense to medicate the animals, pay for cages, feed and bedding and fund additional staffing has come to about $7,000.

"They were in pretty bad shape when they came to us," she said.

Though the expense will stress HSO's reserves and slow shelter replacement efforts, it is not financially debilitating. O'Daniel points out that fundraisers, like the upcoming Casino Night in April, help prepare the shelter financially for rescues of this nature.

"We have been very blessed," she added. "We have a volunteer who has spent his time cleaning up after the bunnies. We have been very fortunate as far as our volunteers and our staff. They have stepped up to the challenge and done an excellent job."

Of the 18 rescued rabbits, O'Daniel said that 10 of them are female, and she is assuming about half of them are pregnant since they were kept with the male rabbits prior to the rescue. She is hoping that an upcoming adoption event on March 17 will help the shelter find homes for the animals. In addition, she is reaching out to the Crook County 4-H to see if any youth are interested in adopting the rabbits at a discount.

Meanwhile, Prineville Police personnel are urging people to consider helping the shelter any way that they can during this time.

"I encourage anyone willing and able, to adopt a pet rabbit or donate to the Humane Society of the Ochocos," Seymour said.

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