Washington County's "Bunny Lady" is back in the hutch after violating a court order banning her from owning animals for five years. Miriam Sakewitz, 47, was arrested Tuesday at a hotel in the Portland suburb of Tigard after an employee reported finding rabbits hopping around in her room.
Problems for Sakewitz started in October 2006 when police in Hillsboro, about 15 miles west of Portland, found and confiscated nearly 250 rabbits in her home, including about 100 dead ones in freezers and refrigerators.
Police said she broke into the facility where the survivors were being cared for in January 2007 and stole most of them back. Authorities found her a few days later in Chehalis, Wash., with eight live rabbits and two dead ones in her car. Another 130 rabbits were recovered at a nearby horse farm.
Sakewitz was sentenced in April 2007 to five years probation and was banned from owning or controlling animals. She also was told not to go within 100 yards of a rabbit.
Half-empty bag of carrots
That summer, Sakewitz was ordered to spend three days in jail for violating her probation by keeping a rabbit in her house. County probation officer Susan Ranger also said Sakewitz had canceled counseling sessions and refused to open the door for unannounced visits. Ranger said she found no rabbits when she finally got inside but did find a half-empty 10-pound bag of carrots.
Since then, Sakewitz has remained "pretty quiet" — until this week, said Washington County probation officer Bob Severe. "We hadn't heard much further from her," he said, adding she was thought to be living in Clackamas County.
On Tuesday, Washington County animal control officers removed eight adult rabbits, five young ones and a dead one from Sakewitz's hotel room, Tigard police spokesman Jim Wolf said.
Sakewitz was in custody Wednesday, and Wolf said he did not know if she had an attorney. She was to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on animal neglect charges.