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Suspect In Ferret Killings Caught Police Arrest Lance Seurer At Restaurant; Held On $50,000 Bail

Tue., Dec. 16, 1997

Lance Seurer’s life on the run ended after he decided to go out for dinner.

The 20-year-old Spokane man, suspected of killing more than 90 domesticated ferrets last month, eluded police for three weeks until he was spotted Saturday at The Onion restaurant on North Division.

A restaurant worker recognized Seurer as the man wanted in the ferret massacre and called police, who arrested him without incident.

He spent the weekend in the county jail after being booked on eight warrants charging him with first-degree animal cruelty and one charging him with a probation violation.

Detectives suspect Seurer went on a rampage against his roommate’s ferrets after the woman ran an errand Nov. 19.

Jean Smith, who breeds the animals for pets, told police she returned home after being away for about three hours and found dozens of the ferrets dead or dying.

Ninety-three died and 19 were injured.

A veterinarian who examined the carcasses said it looked like the ferrets had been stabbed with something like a syringe and possibly injected with bleach.

A police sergeant questioned Seurer at the scene, and he denied killing the animals, according to court documents. Seurer disappeared from the house in the 3500 block of E. Wellesley minutes later.

The attack sparked outrage among ferret lovers around the globe, who flooded police with calls for justice and Smith with donations of food and money.

On Monday, Seurer made his first appearance in District Court. He said little and later declined to be interviewed.

Seurer’s attorney, Douglas Phelps of Spokane, asked Court Commissioner Virginia Rockwood to reduce his client’s $50,000 bail.

Phelps said both Seurer’s parents, who are divorced, live in the area. Seurer is a 16-year resident of Spokane and has a job, Phelps added. “He is prepared to address these charges,” the attorney said.

Rockwood refused to lower the bail.

Smith said Monday she was relieved that Seurer was off the streets but also surprised that he’d been arrested. “I didn’t think he would have had the audacity to stick around,” she said.

Smith said she hopes Seurer gets psychological help.

“This is not a normal act,” she said. “This is not something a well-thinking person would do. He needs help. Otherwise, we’ll just put him right back on the street and he’ll do it again.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo


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