Woofin Palooza’s cofounder sentenced in animal neglect case

Woofin Palooza's cofounder sentenced in animal neglect case

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — A cofounder of multiple Oregon animal rescues pleaded guilty to multiple counts of animal neglect and forgery earlier this year, but other criminal cases against Woofin Palooza’s founders continue.

Tori Head was sentenced to five years of probation, during which time they can’t own or care for pets.

Head, 26, was charged with 272 counts of animal abuse and neglect, forgery and related charges in 2021, but ultimately pleaded guilty to just 12 counts.

Head pleaded guilty on charges of animal neglect for “failing to provide minimum care” to dogs named Britney, Jade, Buddy and Randall and cats named Theresa, Nettie, Maude and Quinn — among others unnamed.

Last year, Head also pleaded guilty in federal court to dispensing misbranded animal drugs and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Sentencing on those charges is scheduled for April, and is expected to include prison time.

Head and others at Woofin Palooza lied or misled adopters about animal’s health or behavior on more than 280 occasions between late 2019 and early 2021, Head admitted in their federal plea.

Some customers were charged sham “appointment fees” to even see pets available for adoption.

“Because many of these animals were in fact sick or suffered from behavioral issues, they required additional veterinary care that totaled more than $142,580,” the plea agreement stated. Customers also paid more than $23,000 in fees that were supposed to be returned once the pets were spayed or neutered. Head and others at Woofin Palooza never returned those fees.


The state cases against Head and Samantha Miller, the other cofounder of Woofin Palooza, have been prosecuted by Jacob Kamins, a deputy district attorney who is based out of Benton County but handles animal abuse cases statewide.

The five-year probation term is longer than the state criminal sentencing guidelines for the crimes Head pleaded guilty to and Head’s criminal history, Kamins said.

The federal and state sentences “were crafted as a global resolution,” Kamins said. “It’s premature for me to comment extensively on the resolution here because the resolution has not been fully gone over in court,” Kamins explained.

Head could be sentenced to around three years in prison on the federal charges, based on federal sentencing advisory guidelines.

Miller, who is in her 50s, was indicted on the same charges in federal court in December, but has not entered a plea.

Both Head and Miller pleaded not guilty to more than 270 counts in state court in July 2021, when they were arraigned on the charges. Unlike Head, Miller has not changed her plea since.

More than 100 animals were seized from Woofin Palooza by the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Animal Services in August 2020, following complaints of animal abuse and neglect. Head and Miller weren’t charged until the following year.

The two had a trail of allegations from long before they opened Woofin Palooza in Northeast Portland in 2019.

The Oregon Department of Justice claimed Miller and her mother, Jeri Miller, had formed All Terrier Rescue as a nonprofit in 1999 but continually used it as their personal business for profit. The DOJ investigated All Terrier Rescue in 2006, which led to the Internal Revenue Service revoking the rescue’s nonprofit status. All Terrier Rescue continued operating.

In 2009, Columbia County, where Samantha Miller lived, denied her application for a kennel permit. Miller filed a lawsuit challenging the denial, but a judge upheld the county’s decision.

Nearly a decade later, Columbia County began investigating whether Miller’s home was being used for an unpermitted kennel for All Terrier Rescue.

All Terrier Rescue had advertised adoption events at Miller’s Columbia County home and at a PetSmart in Washington County. The relationship with PetSmart ended not long after a news story aired about the rescue refusing to return a dog to its new family after the dog escaped the family’s home and was returned to the rescue.

In 2018, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Head, the Millers, Roena Boehm, All Terrier Rescue and Rescue Strong, which the DOJ claimed was a “sham organization” and was created by Head “in an attempt to end DOJ’s inquiries related to ATR.”

All Terrier Rescue had allegedly reported revenue far below the actual amount generated based on the number of dogs they claimed to have adopted out and the adoption fees they charged — and demanded in cash. The rescue had violated most of the rules for nonprofit governance and record keeping, the DOJ investigation found.

In a 2019 settlement, the defendants were banned from the leadership of any charitable organization — Head for three years, Boehm and the Millers permanently.

Just six months later, the DOJ filed a motion to reopen the case because the state believed Head, Boehm and the Millers “have violated virtually every term of the judgment.”

Two months after the settlement, Head had registered The Adoption Center, which claimed to be “working towards becoming a 501c3 non-profit organization,” according to court documents, despite Head being banned from operating a charitable organization for three years. Videos on The Adoption Center’s Facebook page showed dogs on Samantha Miller’s property and the voices of both Millers could be heard, the DOJ alleged.

The judge denied the DOJ’s motion to reopen the case.

Samantha Miller has initiated multiple lawsuits and appeals over the years, including one filed in 2020 against Multnomah County Animal Services, in which Woofin Palooza demanded the return of the cats and dogs taken from Woofin Palooza.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner.

Woofin Palooza’s cofounder sentenced in animal neglect case

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