December 15, 2012 in Washington Voices

Kennel owner violated probation, judge says

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane County judge ruled Wednesday that dog kennel owner Wilma L. Turner violated her probation by having inadequate conditions at her facility, but did not impose any jail time.

Turner was put on probation in 2011, which included permission for twice-a-month unannounced inspections by Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service officers, after she pleaded guilty to having more than 50 dogs older than 6 months that were not neutered or spayed and to one count of failure to meet the minimum care standards for dogs. She was ordered to have no further animal care violations at her Iron Horse Kennel.

District Court Judge Donna Wilson found that Turner had numerous violations of state laws for second-degree cruelty and having more than 50 unfixed adult dogs between December 2011 and August. She also determined that Turner had several violations of Spokane County codes due to improper grooming, dirty kennels, injured dogs not getting medical treatment and the inadequate care of several horses.

“There was no jail imposed,” said Bevan Maxey, Turner’s attorney. “There was no fine imposed. There were no other restrictions imposed. The state simply wanted the findings of the violations so they can use those against her in her re-application for her license.”

Turner was charged with second-degree animal cruelty after SCRAPS officers visited the kennel on Nov. 30 investigating a report alleging Turner sold a puppy with an intestinal parasite. SCRAPS officers also alleged animal care violations for having unclean water containers and unsanitary kennels. Those charges were not addressed in Wednesday’s hearing before Wilson.

Commercial kennels must renew their licenses every year and must pass an inspection to do so. Normally animal control officers only visit more than once a year if a complaint is received or if they want to make sure that issues discovered during an inspection have been addressed, SCRAPS director Nancy Hill said.

Turner’s license expired in October and she has not passed an inspection, Hill said. She will meet with a county attorney soon to determine if SCRAPS will use the probation violation to start the process to revoke Turner’s license. “There’s still some items up in the air that we need to make decisions on,” she said.

Maxey said his client faced a higher level of scrutiny. “Things that are oftentimes going to happen in the ordinary course of business are going to become violations,” he said. “We did not feel that Ms. Turner was in violation. There’s times when things cannot be maintained perfectly. Anything that was determined to be out of order was immediately fixed.”

Hill said there are not supposed to be lapses in care. “The standard of animal care that’s set is supposed to be always maintained,” she said.

A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on Turner’s new criminal charges.


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