A long-term cruelty / neglect investigation involving eighty-six animals recently closed, resulting in relinquished animals to Animal Services, and probation with court-ordered treatment for their former owner.
From March to December 2018, Multnomah County Animal Services Officers rescued a total of eighty-six (86) animals from the home of Elicia Diaz-Cacares (Elicia Swiberg) as part of a long-term cruelty / neglect investigation.
While Diaz-Cacares has former animal-related investigations since 2002, and an existing order restricting her from owning or possessing animals, a new investigation began in March 2018 when a concerned citizen requested a welfare check from Animal Services after visiting Diaz-Cacares’s home.
Animal Services officers initially attempted to contact Diaz-Cacares at her residence to seek voluntary compliance for the welfare check (knock and talk), but were not successful. Animal Services Officers later obtained and executed a search warrant, entering the home with the assistance of Portland Police Bureau.
Officers found many animals at the home. One animal had an untreated, open wound. Dogs and cats were held in cages not large enough to stand in, with soiled bedding, and without access to food or water. Some were tied to furniture and tangled so severely that they couldn’t move or access food or water. A turtle found at the location was swimming in water so murky that officers initially couldn’t tell the tank was occupied. Rabbits and guinea pigs were housed together- a dangerous and stressful practice.
Animal Services Officers seized fifty-two animals from the home on the first day, placing them in protective custody. Over the weekend, officers received a tip that Diaz-Cacares had obtained two more dogs, which were also seized and placed in protective custody.
During the judicial process of the case, ongoing complaints that Diaz-Cacares was continuing to obtain animals led to two more instances of failed attempts at voluntary welfare checks, subsequent search warrants, and the seizure of thirty-two additional animals.
On August 2, 2019, Diaz-Cacares pled no contest to one (1) count of felony animal neglect in the second degree, and six (6) misdemeanor counts of neglect in the second degree, relinquishing ownership of the remaining fifteen (15) animals in protective custody to Multnomah County Animal Services.
Diaz-Cacares’s court order specifies two years of formal probation. She must complete any required counseling and treatment recommended specifically for animal-related offences. She may not be in possession of animals, and can’t live with anyone else with animals without prior permission from a parole officer. She must comply with random at-home visits from parole officers, Animal Services officers, or other law enforcement. If she is successful completing all of the conditions of her probation, she may petition the court to reduce the single felony conviction to a misdemeanor.
Multnomah County Animal Services thanks its diligent officers involved in the case, partner agencies involved in the writing and execution of each search warrant, shelter staff for receiving and caring for the animals, foster homes for shouldering the long-term care of many animals involved in the case, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office for pursuing the case.