Saturday, April 29, 2017

Washington: Seth Snook, owner of Snook Brook Farms who sells cheese under the name Pleasant Valley Dairy, starved dozens of animals to death, say police

WASHINGTON -- A Whatcom County dairy farmer neglected more than 20 cattle and pigs for six months, so long that some needed to be euthanized, according to the Whatcom Humane Society.

Seth Daniel Snook, 34, owner of Snook Brook Farms near Ferndale, faces five counts of first-degree animal cruelty, according to charges filed Friday in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Humane society investigators earlier this month seized all of Snook’s living animals – 23 cows – said Executive Director Laura Clark. Five were euthanized because of their conditions. The others are being given emergency treatment.

Snook, according to the charges, said he couldn’t afford to feed the animals. When reached by phone Friday evening, he declined to comment on the charges, saying he hadn’t yet seen them.


“I honestly don’t think it would be in my best interest to comment on anything,” Snook said.

An animal control sergeant with the humane society began investigating Snook’s farm in late March after the U.S. Department of Agriculture expressed concern about the animals in a report, charges say.


During a trip to the farm, the officer and a Department of Agriculture veterinarian found all of the animals were starving to death, and had been neglected for at least six months.

Snook, according to the charges, said he knew the cows were “a couple hundred pounds underweight,” and that he was responsible. Investigators also found carcasses and skeletons of dead cows at the farm, charges say.

NEIGHBORS, DISGUSTED AT THE SUFFERING OF HIS ANIMALS TRIED TO HELP HIM -- HE REFUSED THEIR HELP AND CHOSE TO LET THE ANIMALS CONTINUE TO SUFFER AND DIE, ONE BY ONE

Snook had agreed to sell his cows and local dairy producers had offered to help feed and transport them, according to the charges, but he didn’t do so.


The five animal cruelty charges Snook faces are for these animals, according to the charges:

▪ A tan-and-white Guernsey breed calf that appeared lethargic and kept laying down

▪ A Jersey breed cow that also was lethargic and could not stay standing for long periods

▪ A Holstein breed heifer, or young cow, that looked “skeletal and sickly”

▪ A Jersey breed cow named Trixie, which had to be euthanized

▪ A dead cream-colored pig, which appeared to have starved to death after eating garbage and other dead animals

“The Whatcom Humane Society will continue to advocate for these animals and will do whatever we can to hold Mr. Snook responsible for his horrific crimes against these defenseless animals,” Clark said in an email.

The organization Dairy Farmers of Washington, in a statement Friday, condemned the farm’s conditions, saying they “in no way reflect the animal care practices of the hundreds of hard working dairy farm families throughout Washington or across our nation.”

Snook was not arrested, but a summons has been filed for him to appear in court in May.


(Bellingham Herald - April 28, 2017)