February 04, 2023

Charges filed in animal neglect case

A Newton couple has been charged in the animal neglect incident in November where more than a dozen cats were removed from an abandoned property.

Jason J. Breckenridge, 47, and Tammy A. Breckenridge, 55, were both charged with 10 counts of animal neglect — death or serious injury.

According to the criminal complaint, Newton police were called the morning of Nov. 2 to a residence in the 700 block of North Fifth Avenue West in reference to live and deceased cats that had been abandoned by their owners without food, water or adequate shelter since approximately Oct. 31.

When police arrived, officers found a group of cats near the back steps of the vacant house eating from a large pile of dry cat food witnesses had brought over for the animals. All of the live cats were very skinny and officers could clearly see their ribs under their fur and see dirt or bugs around their face and head, even in the chilly weather, according to the report.

Officers also found two deceased cats on the property and noted something had clearly been eating at their carcasses. Witnesses reported seeing the live cats eating the dead animals when they brought the food to the house.

Newton police seized the 10 living cats from the property and transported them to animal shelters and the deceased cats were taken to Parkview Animal Clinic for examination. A licensed DVM performed examinations on all of the cats and determined three of the living cats were determined to be “emaciated,” five were “very thin” and two were “ideal.” All 10 cats had ear mites and fleas.

Of the two deceased cats, only one was able to be examined. The cause of death was “lack of nutrition” followed by post mortem cannibalism.

Jason and Tammy Breckenridge openly admitted the cats belonged to them. Jason Breckenridge said they left them at the residence when they moved out because they “did not know what to do with them.”

The couple was cited and released to appear in court.

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or pampratt@newtondailynews.com