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Felony indictment on 41 counts unveiled against woman with ongoing woes from horse neglect conviction

Questions are also being raised concerning the conduct of local livestock auction companies who may have knowingly facilitated Ott's possession of cows.

A booking photo of Raina Ott from 2020 was released by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office following her past conviction for neglecting horses. On the right is the heading of the recent 41-count indictment brought against Ott by a grand jury in Lane County, Oregon.

Eugene, Ore. – An Oregon woman who has already been facing increasing legal woes from criminal charges has now been indicted by a Lane County grand jury of 41 additional criminal counts ranging from felony animal neglect, theft of property, identify theft, and more probation violations.

Raina McKenzie Ott, 24, was indicated on Tuesday in one of her newer criminal cases, which initially only included a single misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.

That case and a separate case of four counts of theft in connection with a Coastal Farm & Ranch Store are in addition to ongoing probation violations from Ott’s conviction in a 2020 case on multiple counts of neglecting horses.

Ott and her mother, Erica Ott, were initially charged and then convicted years ago for their role in a high-profile case involving over 60 horses primarily neglected by Gwenyth Davies.

Since that time, Ott has faced years of repeated probation violations, ultimately leading to her facing over a month in jail last year.

The forty-one counts listed in the criminal indictment revealed on Tuesday included:

  • 16 counts of Identify Theft
  • 5 counts of Theft in the First Degree
  • 12 counts of Animal Neglect in the Second Degree
  • 6 counts of Animal Neglect in the First Degree
  • 2 counts of a Brand Inspection Violation

Days before the indictment against Ott was revealed, a warrant was issued for her arrest after failing to appear for arraignments in both of the new cases.

Sergeant Tim Wallace, a public information officer for the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, also confirmed that Ott was not cooperating further, as previously indicated in a press release a week prior, but that the “case is still being actively investigated…”

When asked about efforts in attempting to apprehend Ott; as well as Davies, who also has an outstanding warrant since September of 2023 for her own alleged probation violations, Wallace stated they were aware of the warrants.

“Our patrol staff is aware of Ott’s misdemeanor warrant, and the neglect case is still being actively investigated,” said Wallace.

“Davies is believed to have fled the state, and we have conflicting leads on where she may be.”

Questions raised about involvement by livestock auctions

The new charges have also been part of increasing allegations being raised against multiple livestock auction companies for facilitating sales of livestock to Ott, some of which go as far as alleging that one of the auctions allowed Ott to conduct the transactions under an alias matching charges in her indictment.

In late January, the owner of the Lebanon Auction Yard, Lezlie Cowart, sent an unsolicited message on social media to Darla Clark, who is the Executive Director of Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, a 501(c)(3) horse rescue organization.

Cowart introduced herself to Clark and said she was, “trying to reach Raina Ott about some paperwork,” going on to ask if Clark had any contact information for Ott.

“I can look. Can you tell me what it’s for?” replied Clark.

Cowart responded by saying: “No”

Clark then responded with a message suggesting (albeit somewhat facetiously) that Cowart reach out to Senior Assistant Attorney General Jacob Kamins who has been handling Ott’s cases as a special prosecutor for Lane County.

“Ok, so I would reach out to Jake Kamins. I’m pretty sure he has a good way to contact her. I’ll copy his number to you below.”

When sharing these messages, Clark told Equestrian Media Group that she was immediately suspicious concerning why this auction would need to transact papers with Ott while not understanding why Cowart chose to reach out to her via social media in the first place.

Clark also suspected that Cowart was likely aware of Ott’s situation due to the widespread media attention from NW Horse Report and other local news publications, which Cowart later confirmed.

Equestrian Media Group then spoke with Cowart at the Lebanon Auction Yard and asked if she was looking for Ott and if she had purchased an animal from them.

While confirming that she was indeed looking for Ott, she would not confirm or deny if Ott had purchased an animal.

“Well, we’re just looking for some paperwork information,” remarked Cowart.

Cowart also confirmed that they were aware of Ott’s probation and restrictions and eventually admitted that Ott was handling a purchase for Wade Ott, her father.

“We’re looking for her for some paperwork issues, so I’m not really sure how much information I’m free to divulge to you, but they were actually purchased for Wade [Ott],” Cowart also said.

Equestrian Media Group then asked Cowart why Ott would be allowed to conduct transactions for others. Cowart’s response avoided the question, instead responding by asking why Equestrian Media Group was calling about Ott in the first place.

This publication explained that Ott had been the subject of repeated public interest surrounding her ongoing criminal charges and alleged probation violations.

“This is not much of public interest, had nothing to do with horses, we’re dealing with it– with our issue– in-house, and so there is not any news article to it at the moment.”

Cowart was then asked why the company would engage with Ott if they knew about Ott’s legal prohibitions.

“It’s a public livestock auction; anyone who wants to walk through the doors can do so,” said Cowart.

When pressed further about the papers and Ott’s involvement with the purchase of cattle, Cowart said she had no further comment. Equestrian Media Group contacted Cowart at the Lebanon Auction Yard again just before this story was published, but she declined to comment further except to say she was happy to hear about Ott’s indictment.

It was not immediately clear if any of the new charges against Ott were tied to any incident involving the Lebanon Auction Yard.

Additional allegations made to Equestrian Media Group involving another auction company recently surfaced in late February and are still being investigated and under editorial review.

Those allegations also pointed to auction officials with another company knowingly submitting false sale reports to the Oregon Department of Agriculture for Ott under her alias sometime in 2023 after having previously transacted business with the same company immediately before under her actual name.

Ott is scheduled to be arraigned on the slew of new felony charges on March 19th in Lane County Circuit Court. Her previous probation violation hearing and mini-trial, originally scheduled on March 11th, was rescheduled for April 1st at 10 am.

This is a developing story you can count on us to keep you updated on.

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