A Portage man accused of killing cats at his home and dumping them in rural Columbia County was charged today with six felonies.
Paul A. Greiner, 73, was released on a signature bond after his court hearing April 2, 2018.
Greiner is charged with one county of mistreatment of animals causing death, and five counts of stalking.
Video from court his HERE or below.
PORTAGE (WKOW) -- Detectives from Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant April 11, 2018 at the suspect’s house in Portage. The investigation revealed that Greiner was trapping these cats on his own property near the bird feeders. Three of the dead cats have been identified as being domesticated cats from the city of Portage.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office received a call March 22 from a town of Lewiston resident reporting that she found some dead cats on her property.
The caller, Liz Masterson, says she began discovering the bodies of cats on her land twelve miles from Portage. Masterson says she found nine dead cats in a period of six weeks. Masterson says there was no indication the cats had been hit by cars on a nearby road, or were feral.
Authorities say after cats were found on Masterson’s yard detective are closer to a motive. Columbia County detective Roger Brandner says Grenier and Masterson have had disputes in the past.
"Because of those personal conflicts in the past, I think he was dumping them out there for some harassment and really to stick it to the people," said Brander.
Portage Police said Greiner admitted to the crime.
"He was able to provide us with his reasoning for his actions and he's taking responsibility for that," said Detective Lt. Dan Garrigan, Portage Police Department.
Since the news broke about these missing cats the community is reaching out in social media to identify them.
"The amount of cats that were thrown there and knowing that they were domesticated is quite unusual and quite odd I don't think I've had a case like this before," said Brander.
Out of the nine cats found on the property only three have been identified by their owners.
Police say the Sheriff's department told Masterson to cremate the cats, but it's making it more difficult to find their owners. Only proof of identifying them is through Fackbook photos. How the cats were killed is still under investigation.
"Were trying to put the pieces together as to what actually happened to these animals prior to them being dumped,” said Brander. “There's probably multiple methods to trapping these animals and he did use some live traps that were aware of. We also had saw some other types of traps that he was using."
The investigation started on March 25, 2018 when Masterson reported to the sheriff’s office that another dead cat was found on her property.
On March 26, 2018 Masterson reported that she saw a man exit a vehicle which was stopped in the road in front of her place and throw a dead cat onto her property.
Masterson told investigators that she knew who this person was from previous contacts with him. Through the investigation, investigators learned that nine dead cats were discarded on her property. Initially there was no information on where these cats came from or how they died.
It was later learned that there were some residents in the city of Portage that were missing some of their domesticated house cats.
Detectives from the Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office worked a joint investigation into how and why the dead cats were discarded on someone’s property."These are healthy cats that had their nails trimmed, declawed, and there was no trauma," Masterson tells 27 News. "In fact, they had an expression of agony," she says.Masterson posted photos of the cats she found to social media, hoping people would recognize their pets.Rebecca Mousseau of Portage told 27 News her nine month old, gray and white colored cat Lucky went missing in March.
"I had a phone call on my answering machine from Liz, asking if I could identify the cat that was on her property, and it was my cat," Mousseau tells 27 News."It broke my heart because my cat was everything to me," Mousseau says.Mousseau says while she does have the ashes of her beloved pet, she also has fear over what this suspect may be capable of, as he remains in the community.
Masterson says two other cat owners have positively identified their missing pets as found on Masterson's property.Masterson says on one occasion, she confronted the suspect as he dumped a cat's body on her land, and drove off."The investigators have done a tremendous job," Masterson says.
She tells 27 News the suspect has connection to a nearby property, and believes the dumping of the cats near her home was intentional.
"Intimidation," Masterson tells 27 News.
For more go to WKOW: http://www.wkow.com/story/37941375/2018/04/12/sheriff-suspect-in-killing-dumping-cats-in-rural-area-portage-man