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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: animal cruelty

Cheney couple faces animal cruelty charges

Prosecutors have filed animal cruelty charges against the Cheney couple who owned multiple animals, including horses and a llama, seized during a search of their property last month.

Terri Marlin, 51, and Thomas Marlin, 53, face multiple animal cruelty criminal counts following an investigation into the conditions at their property at 23239 S. Cross Road in July. Authorities were initially alerted to the couple, who have an extensive history of animal abuse complaints, after several emaciated horses appeared at the Cheney Rodeo Grounds during a wildfire evacuation.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services seized two horses, a llama, eight dogs and six cats from the residence. The Marlins face seventeen criminal counts apiece, including first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree animal cruelty and confining an animal in an unsafe manner, according to a news release from SCRAPS. First-degree animal cruelty is a felony, while the other charges are misdemeanors.

SCRAPS recommends animal cruelty charges against Evergreen Pet Shop owners

An investigation of an out-of-business Spokane Valley pet store has led to charging recommendations by SCRAPS officials to Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, according to a news release.

The owner of the closed Evergreen Pet Shop could face first and second degree animal cruelty charges for the treatment of their animals that were kept in the store while in transition to a new property owner.

SCRAPS officials have also recommended misdemeanor charges of confining animals in an unsafe manner. Numerous complaints were filed in Nov. against the store for reports of dead animals and failure to provide proper food, water and sanitation for what pets were being housed.

Investigators found 12 dead rats and 9 dead mice during their initial look into the store, according to Nancy Hill, director of SCRAPS. The rodents were examined by local veterinarians for SCRAPS’ report. They also looked at some of the live animals adopted by members of the community after the store’s ownership was transferred to new property owners.

SCRAPS has received several complaints over the years for the pet store, said Nancy Hill in an earlier interview, but nothing has risen to the point of being a violation until now.

Man pleads not guilty of animal cruelty

A man suspected of stabbing his own dog at his northeast Spokane home Nov. 24, pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon during his Spokane County Superior Court arraignment.

Nathan V. Meier, 22, remains in custody at Spokane County Jail with a $10,000 bond for first degree animal cruelty.

Police found him with blood on his person and wounds to his wrist near the 3700 block of north Regal Street. Police believe he stabbed his dog, a 7-year-old German Shepherd mix named Raider, in the throat causing serious injuries.

Meier was taken to the hospital for his own injuries, but was booked into jail afterward.

Neglected animals include duck, sheep

A woman has been charged with felony animal cruelty after emaciated animals, including a duck, were seized from her property near Long Lake in April.

Sigrid Birgitta Winney, 63, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and is scheduled for trial on Oct. 22.

SCRAPS Animal Protection Officer Darlene Brumley responded to complain of five goats with no foot or water at Winney's property at 29116 W. Long Lake Road on April 9.

A confidential informant showed Brumley another property at 15857 N. Coyote Ridge Road where six goats were being kept without food and water, and two dogs were tethered to a tree. Officer Francisca Rapier spoke with Winney on April 11, and Winney said she felt terrible when she realized the terrible condition “of the goats and pregnant sheep,” according to court documents.

Winney said “she had not actually put her hands on the animals over the winter, as she had been feeding in the dark at night,” according to court documents. Officers also observed about 10 cats living in filth. Some of the animals had to be euthanized.

Winney is charged with first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree animal cruelty, confining animals in an unsafe manner and operating a dog kennel without a license.
  

Charges filed in Hillyard animal cruelty

A Spokane woman who had 50 dogs and cats packed into a squalid bungalow in Hillyard has been charged with animal cruelty.

Laneva Marsha Erskine, 57, faces nine misdemeanor charges stemming from a February raid at her home at 3622 E. Crown Ave. in which workers wore hazardous material suits and respirators to combat the heavy stench.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 8: Animals seized from squalid Hillyard home

Public’s help sought in cat cruelty probe

Spokane County animal protection offers are asking for the public's help as they investigate a horrendous case of animal cruelty.

A cat had to be euthanized on Monday after SCRAPS officers found it shot in the head in a dumpster at the Viewpoint Villa Apartments, 5911 E. Woodlawn Ave., in Spokane Valley.

A woman had reported a cat screaming from the dumpster, and the apartment manager found the bleeding, injured feline inside a garbage bag wrapped in a blanket.

The cat was taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Investigators say the cat also sustained traumatic injuries to its body.

Anyone who may have seen or heard something is asked to call (509) 477-2532 immediately. Your name and contact information will remain confidential with SCRAPS.

Man gets 6 months in horrific dog cruelty

A Post Falls man who beat his dog with a hammer as his neighbor watched in horror has been sentenced to six months in jail.

 Calvin Franklin Palmer, 53, who served 33 years in prison in Arizona for murder, apologized at his sentencing Friday and said the death of his Akita-pit bull even “traumatized him,” according to court records.

“I was the only one who treated her nicely,” Palmer said.

He told police he killed the dog after she attacked a cat and he feared she would attack him.

“I'm sorry that someone saw me do that,” he said in court Friday, according to a transcript. Palmer was booked into the Kootenai County Jail that day to begin his sentence.

Palmer's neighbors in the 300 block of North Columbia Street in Post Falls called police Dec. 10 and reported the horrific attack.

Tammi Nichols, 40, said her 18-year-old daughter, Carmen Murphy, told her she'd seen Palmer beating the dog with the hammer.

Nichols said she told Palmer “You just traumatized my child,” but Palmer “looked at her with a blank look on his face, then swung the hammer at the dog four more times, striking it in the head,” according to court documents.

Post Falls police arrived to find the dog dead in a trash can, badly beaten with its throat slit.

Palmer initially lied to police and said he didn't own a dog, according to court documents. When they asked him about dog food at the home, he said he fed it to his cats because he can't afford cat food.

Palmer has been out of prison for about three years after being convicted of robbery and murder in Arizona, according to court records. He works at the Sweetgrass Cafe in Worley, Idaho, according to testimony at his sentencing.

His public defender, Megan Marshall, called for him to serve no jail time for the animal cruelty conviction, saying he'll lose his trailer if he can't work. She said his murder conviction “is following him for the rest of his life,” according to court records.

Judge Penny Friedlander instead sentenced him to 180 days in jail but allowed for work release. Friedlander said it was “stunning to the court how anyone could do an act like that to an animal.”

Man accused of killing wife’s cat

A Spokane man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing his wife's cat.

Nicholas A. Romanelli, 28, was arraigned in Spokane County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree animal cruelty.

He's accused of smashing a cat against a wall repeatedly while drunk and angry he couldn't find the keys to his car to get more beer, according to court documents.

Police arrived at his home in the 4600 block of North Sullivan Road after his wife called 911. She awoke to the cat screeching loudly, she told police.

Romanelli is out of custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled for March 26. He has previous felony convictions for domestic violence tampering with a witness and harassment.

Pit bull owners face cruelty charges

A dog owner is facing animal cruelty charges after bringing his emaciated, starving pit bull to the vet.

The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service filed a charging request against Randy Jensen for first-degree animal cruelty and second-degree animal cruelty. Charging requests were also filed for his sister, Talina Jensen, also faces of first-degree animal cruelty and confinement in an unsafe manner.

Randy Jensen took the dog, Jackson, in for veterinary care Sept. 9 after he lost about 20 pounds and stopped eating, according to a SCRAPS news release. However, Jensen did not have the money for the recommended exam but did not want to euthanize the dog. He brought Jackson to his sister Talina Jensen for care, but Jackson continued to suffer “substantial and unjustifiable pain,” the news release said.

On Sept. 26, SCRAPS animal protection officers rushed Jackson in for veterinary care after they began an investigation. Tests showed Jackson’s intestines had burst and he was septic, the news release said.

Jackson was euthanized.

“Jackson suffered for several weeks and the charges reflect the serious nature of the crimes committed against him,” said Nicole Montano, lead animal protection officer. “SCRAPS takes the issue of animal cruelty and neglect very seriously and this was an extreme case of cruelty and neglect.”

SCRAPs urges anyone who sees an animal being mistreated to call (509) 477-2532

Man’s use of elderly woman’s cash probed

The investigators who rescued a 105-year-old woman in late May from a squalid Kettle Falls, Wash., home are now looking into whether the woman’s care provider was also improperly using her money.

Stevens County sheriff’s Detective James Caruso said he and other deputies on Tuesday again searched the home where on May 26 they found Frances Swan, who has since turned 106, begging for food in a house that was filled with trash, rotting food, dogs and feces.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

June 21: Man held after police rescue famished woman, 105

Woman, 105, found living in squalor

Stevens County deputies discovered a 105-year-old woman begging for food after being asked by an animal cruelty suspect to retrieve his medicine from the squalid Kettle Falls home before taking him to jail.

The woman, Frances Swan, was rescued and now is recuperating at a Colville nursing home, while her self-described caretaker, 78-year-old John H. Friedlund, was charged today with felony criminal mistreatment in connection with the May 26 discovery. Swan, who turns 106 on Wednesday, is believed to be one of the state’s oldest residents.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Camel leads to animal cruelty arrests

Reports of a camel on a property in eastern Spokane County led to the recent arrest of a mother and daughter duo already charged with animal cruelty.

The camel belonged to a neighbor, but animal control officers say Kelly J. Covey, 49, had two dogs in her camper - a violation of a court order. The restriction has been in place since a Jan. 29 raid at the property, 6204 N. Idaho Road, that led to charges against Covey, her mother, Carol McMullen, 70, and Mullen's son, James W. McMullen.

In addition to the camel, SCRAPS investigators found cows and llamas at 6204 N. Idaho Road that also violated court orders.

Carol McMullen has previous convictions for animal cruelty; she was arrested again last week for violating her release conditions. Covey was booked into jail Friday.

The family faces several felony animal cruelty charges after 123 farm animals and pets were seized in January.

Officers found 78 dead animals on the property, located between State Line and Newman Lake.

Man accused of killing girlfriend’s cat

A 21-year-old Spokane man is accused of killing his girlfriend's cat.

Corey C. Fries was arrested Saturday after his girlfriend of 1 1/2 years told police he'd held the cat to the floor about two weeks ago and hit it in the head with a walking cane, killing it.

Fries told the woman “that she needed to tell people that her cat ran away,” according to court documents.

Spokane police learned of the cat's death after responding to the couple's home at 3024 E. 30th Ave., Saturday for a domestic dispute. Fries was arrested for misdemeanor assault and reportedly admitted to killing the cat, police said, though he denied hitting it with a cane.

Fries appeared on a first-degree animal cruelty charge today in Spokane County Superior Court, where his bail was set at $5,000.

Police: Dog abuser beat boy, too

A Spokane Valley man already accused of abusing his dog has been charged with felony assault against a child.

Jeffrey S. Brown, 40, is accused of beating his 4-year-old stepson at the home they shared with Brown's wife and the couple's 18-month old son at 14819 E. Fourth Ave.

Brown remains in Spokane County Jail on $50,000 bond after appearing before Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt today on one count of second-degree assault of a child. That's in addition to $10,000 bond already imposed for a first-degree animal cruelty charge

According to court documents, the victim's mother noticed unusual bruising on the boy Dec. 27 and took him to a hospital, then fled Spokane with her children “in cooperation with Child Protective Services.”

Brown was arrested in February after animal protection officers found his 1-year-old brown dog, Gizmoto, with a broken femur sustained during months of abuse.

Brown released ownership of the dog to SCRAPS, and the organization paid for the dog to be examined. SCRAPS director Nancy Hill said Wednesday that the veterinarian took the dog in but said she wasn't sure if it had been adopted yet.

In an interview with a sheriff's detective, Brown initially denied hurting the boy but then said he'd been too forceful on several occasions and needed counseling to control his temper.

Man jailed after abused dog seized

A Spokane Valley man is in jail after animal control officers say they found his dog whimpering in pain from months of abuse.

Jeffrey S. Brown, 40, faces a first-degree animal cruelty charge after neighbors called the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service and said Brown beat and kicked the dog at his home at 14819 E. 4th Ave.

Brown told investigators that he’d adopted the 1-year-old brown dog, Gizmoto, last June and said he’d recently taken it to a veterinarian, but the vet told police he hadn’t seen Brown.

Brown released ownership of the dog to SCRAPS on Jan. 13, and the organization paid for the dog to be examined. The dog had a broken femur that was about three or four weeks old but had been re-injured. The vet said the dog was in severe pain and likely would require surgery, according to court documents.

Brown’s wife, Jennifer Brown, told police she’d left the dog with her husband after Child Protective Services took their four-year-old son because of abuse.

Brown remains in jail on $10,000 bond after appearing before Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins on Friday.

Teen accused of killing 2 dogs w/ ax

A Chattaroy teenager killed his family’s dogs after threatening his mother and grandmother with a knife on Monday, sheriff’s officials say.

Michael R. Shartle, 19, remains in jail on $20,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday.

He was arrested Tuesday after deputies found evidence of brutal slayings in his family’s barn, where the teen reportedly told his mother on Monday that he’d killed their two dogs.

Read the rest of my story here.

Dog poisoning, beating reported in Athol

An Athol woman’s dog died of suspected poisoning Tuesday after suffering a beating from an unknown man who threatened repeatedly to kill her beloved pets.

Police believe they know who did it, but can’t prove it. And even if they could, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor in Idaho, one of only four states where that’s still the case.

Two of Kathleen Callahan’s three dogs were playing in her fenced front yard Friday when a man in a red pickup truck screeched to a halt in her driveway, jumped out, leaned over the fence and began punching the dogs, she said.

Read of Alison Boggs’ storry here.

Dog poisonings in the Spokane area in February remain unsolved. Read about them here.

Last dogs rescued at rural ‘killing yard’

Neighbors saw the carnage firsthand.

Older dogs ganged up on younger dogs. Dogs mauled each other regularly, sometimes leading to death.

This scene, detailed over three days of testimony in a Stevens County courtroom, led to a Deer Park woman’s recent conviction on four charges that sent her to jail for more than a year.

On Thursday, as Pam Deskins served her sixth day in the Stevens County Jail, animal control officers traveled to her Wallbridge Road property to capture the last of dozens of dogs that roamed a 3-acre pen described in court as “a killing yard,” said Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

“Pam Deskins didn’t beat or whip or starve these animals, but she kept them in such a way that they could really hurt each other,” Rasmussen said. “And they did.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Is someone targeting Spokane dogs?

Abby collapsed near the back steps, convulsing before her owner took her inside, where she died.

Her companion, Snoopy, died shortly after, both victims of what animal control officials suspect is a targeted assault using poisoned meatballs to kill Spokane’s best friends.

The attack on Abby and Snoopy took place in the 3300 block of East 55th Street. Another dog living near Regal Street and the Palouse Highway died Friday.

Then on Monday, a homeowner near 36th Street and Grand Boulevard found a suspicious meatball similar to those found Friday. Officials suspect a connection but haven’t determined one.The meat will be sent to Washington State University for testing.

Meanwhile, dog owners are urged to inspect their yards and keep their pets indoors, and the Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest. In each case, officials said, the targeted properties have dog houses, signs or other indications that dogs live there.

“It looks to me as though somebody is just driving around and wherever they see evidence of a dog living there, they toss those meatballs out,” said Gail Mackie, executive director of SpokAnimal. “It doesn’t make a difference where you live, you’re not immune.”

The people responsible for the tainted meatballs face charges of first-degree animal cruelty.

Nancy Hill, director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, described the substance as “a very fast-acting, horrible-death kind of poison.”

The meatballs “are very attractive, and they’re very lethal,” she said. “A dog can eat a meatball before you can even blink an eye.”

The woman who found the meat in her front yard on Monday “for some miraculous reason” had only let her dogs in the backyard that morning, Hill said.

“She was extremely upset knowing those were sitting in the area,” Hill said.

Abby (top right) and Snoopy (top left) lived with 21-year-old David Cheney and his family.

Cheney found the dogs early Friday after they ate what officials believe are the same type of meatballs found earlier that day near Regal Street and the Palouse Highway.

A SCRAPS investigator found several suspicious meatballs in Cheney’s neighbor’s yard.

“I spent Friday and Saturday burying both dogs,” Cheney said.

Both are buried in the backyard under large wooden crosses. Snoopy’s grave is below a tree he liked to lie under on sunny days.

The Cheneys brought the dogs with them from Florida when they moved to Spokane in 2002.

Cheney said he has no idea who would want to hurt them or why.

“The cops have better get ahold of him before I do,” Cheney said. “I’ll go to prison over it.”

Courthouse watch: 9.9.09

A man accused of beating a dog outside Spokane City Hall had his bail reduced during his first court appearance today.

Michael J. Jones, 20, remains in jail on $7,500, charged with first-degree animal cruelty for his alleged connection to the June 22 incident, which was captured on surveillance video.

Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Sterett asked Judge Ellen Kalama Clark to maintain the original $20,000 bond, but Jones’ lawyer, Chris Bugbee, said his client has been cooperating with police and is not a flight risk.

He asked for a $2,500 bond; Jones’ uncle asked if he could be released on his own recognize because the family has made plans to get him “the help he needs.”

Jones suffers from mental illness and controlled substance addiction, Bugbee said.

Jones’ family hired Bugbee late last month, and Bugbee and Jones went to the Public Safety Building to turn Jones in.

They spoke with the detective assigned to the case, who said charges hadn’t been filed but that they could arrange a court summons.

Sterett didn’t know that when she filed charges the morning after a TV news station reported Jones had been turned away when he tried to turn himself in, Bugbee said.

Read past coverage here.

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