Monday, July 31, 2017

New Hampshire: Keni-Lynn Mone, 38, waives arraignment on animal cruelty, child endangerment charges

NEW HAMPSHIRE -- A mother found living in a home filled with trash, rats and animal waste waived her arraignment Monday.

Keni-Lynn Mone, 38, of Rochester, faces two counts of child endangerment and one count of animal cruelty following her arrest last month.

Officials had removed a teenage boy and a preteen girl from the home and placed them into the custody of their father with the help of the Division for Children, Youth and Families because of the poor conditions, according to Rochester Police Capt. Jason Thomas.

Animal control officers also removed a dog from the home, which is owned by Mone, but located on land leased from Briar Ridge Estates, a 491-unit manufactured-home community off Old Dover Road.

A trial for Mone's case begins on Sept. 12.

(NH1 - July 31, 2017)


Florida: Horse that police say Darius Galloway was raping was a rescue horse that had been part of an animal cruelty case

FLORIDA -- The horse that was sexually molested RAPED by a Valparaiso man had been a rescue from Alaqua Animal Refuge and had experienced severe neglect and abuse early in her life.

Alaqua founder Laurie Hood said Athena, an Arabian mare, came to Alaqua in 2013 with several other horses as part of an animal cruelty case. Hood said the horse was neglected and abused, but gentle and kind with her rescuers.

“She was just the perfect horse to go to a family with little girls and have them dote all over her,” Hood said.

The family with little girls adopted Athena and took good care of her, according to Hood, keeping her boarded in a reputable stable in Valparaiso and visiting her daily.

But according to the Valparaiso Police Department, beginning in April, a man trespassed onto horse stable property and began molesting RAPING Athena in her stall.

Darius Shamod Galloway, 26, was arrested July 26 after authorities found him in Athena’s stall with his shirt around his neck, pants sagging and fly open standing next to the horse. He admitted to police that he entered the stable “with the intent to pet, fondle and masturbate to Athena.”

Shamod also said that was the third time he had been to the stable to molest RAPE Athena. In previous instances, he used cooking oil as a lubricant.

Galloway was charged with engaging in sexual conduct with an animal, burglary of an unoccupied structure and petit theft in the first degree. Police say Galloway stole a trail camera the horse’s owners had set up after growing suspicious someone had been entering the stall and harming Athena.

Galloway was released Monday on $3,500 bond, and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 6. No attorney is listed for him in court records.

Hood said she and other representatives from Alaqua plan to be at all of his court hearings.

“I think it’s important that the judge know that there’s a lot of people who take this very seriously,” Hood said. “I hope that he’ll get the stiffest penalty that he can, per law.”

Hood said the horse is healing physically and emotionally from her wounds.

(NWF Daily News - July 31, 2017)


North Carolina: Man accused of hiding 3 pit bulls that attacked neighbor's dog in its own fenced yard

NORTH CAROLINA -- Three pit bulls accused of mauling a Fayetteville woman’s dog are still missing 10 days after the attack.

The dog is recovering at home, but his owner fears the pit bulls are a major threat to others.

Carme DelToro said three pit bulls jumped over three low-rise fences and clamped their jaws onto her 2-year-old Border collie mix, Chase, at her home along Winthrop Drive in the Eureka Springs neighborhood.

“In ten minutes, they almost destroyed this animal,” she said.

DelToro had let Chase out into the backyard while she drove her granddaughter to band practice. Then she heard a howl.

“I just saw him screaming and all I could do was turn on the water and try to hose them down and see if they would let him go,” she said.


DelToro’s screams summoned the dogs’ owner, who lives across the street. She said the owner keeps the pit bulls on the lot he owns, which is behind her backyard.

DelToro said he pried the dogs off and that she has not seen the animals in the week and a half following the incident.

“Most likely they are in hiding. They’re just hiding them,” she said.

Cumberland County Animal Control Director John Lauby agreed with DelToro. He spoke to WRAL News via phone and said the owner is likely hiding the pit bulls. Lauby said he needs to find the dogs, so DelToro can identify them, before anybody can be charged in connection with the attack.

Lauby said Animal Control officers are patrolling the area at least three times daily.

DelToro said the pit bulls have jumped the fences before, and nearly attacked her. She fears that a child could be the next victim.

“It could have been my granddaughter out here playing with this dog or in the pool coming out and she would have defended this dog as much as I would,” she said. “She could have gotten hurt, mauled by those dogs.”


Chase was required to spend eight days in the animal hospital following the attack, but has since returned home.

“He’s doing better. He’s still go to heal from his wounds- they are deep. It’ll be a while before he does heal from his wounds, little by little,” DelToro said.

If the pit bulls are found, Lauby said Animal Control would keep them at the shelter until their owner proves the dogs can be contained.

WRAL News attempted to speak with the owner of the pit bulls, but a woman at the house refused to speak.


(WRAL - July 30, 2017)

Ohio: Dayton police kill Pit Bull after it attacks three people

OHIO -- Dayton Police were forced to kill a dog late Friday night, after hearing a woman’s screams for help on the 30 block of Nassau Street.

According to a police report filed by officer William Overholtz, he and officer Jeremy Campbell were traveling along Nassau Street around 10:28 p.m. on routine patrol when they overhead a woman scream for help.

Overholtz wrote the two officers observed the woman had blood “all over her arms and shirt,” where she told the two officers two more people were in the house being attacked by a pit bull.

After drawing their weapons, the two officers entered the home, spotted a man severely injured with deep wounds and blood on both arms. 

The reporting officer then spotted a dog in the corner with blood on it’s ribs, stomach and mouth. 

The dog then began “showing his teeth and growling” before taking a quick step toward the officer “as if he was getting ready to attack.”

The officer then fired a shot at the dog, striking him above the nose, causing it to flee.

Medics arrived on the scene where they found a second man in the back yard of the home with lacerations to his arms from perceived dog bites.

After a Dayton Police Sergeant arrived on the scene, Overholtz was told to “put the dog down to prevent further incident.”

Overholtz then fired another shot at the dogs head, killing it.

An interview with the dog bite victims revealed the dog had bitten a man earlier in the day in an unrelated domestic dispute. After the incident, the dog tried jumping on the owner and accidentally ripped a toenail off, which the owner said caused the dog to be upset “ever since.”

The dog shortly began attacking the people in the house.

The Animal Resource Center arrived on the scene to recover the body. According to the police report, officers were informed the center was “unsure” an accurate test of rabies could be conducted, due to the location of where the dog was shot.

(WHIO - July 30, 2017)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Texas: Maria Trigo and Nohemi Acevedo arrested, charged with animal cruelty after torturing and beating Pit Bull with baseball bat

TEXAS -- Two Harlingen women are charged with animal cruelty.

Harlingen police officers said video shows two women running up and trying to rescue a Poodle that was being attacked by a loose Pit Bull.

After the little dog runs back to its own property, one of the suspects repeatedly strikes the Pit Bull with its own chain and restrains it with the chain when it tries to run away from her.

The second women then beats the dog with a baseball bat several times while the first woman keeps the dog from running away.

The incident happened earlier this month on the 2600 block of Wilson Road.

Animal Control issued citations to the owners of both dogs, picked up the Pit Bull and took it to the shelter. Apparently these two fine specimens of womanhood failed to tell the officer they'd used the dog as a pinata and a few days later, police were given a copy of the video.

Twenty-year-old Nohemi Shakira Acevedo and 58-year-old Maria Felix Trigo were arrested Thursday.

Facebook Comments

Dennis Moreno - They got PR Bonds?? They'll be out tomorrow without paying any bail. 😠

Rudy Salinas - They are already out

Manda Hare - Violent crime like this and get a pr. Just cause its a dog and not a human who was hurt. They didn't deserve pr

Noel Acevedo - Pit bull came to my yard and attacked our dog we have doctor bills and pictures if you idiots want to see them

Noel Acevedo - Now you have the true story. If you want to talk to me personally just ask

Jakob Palomares - Lol you can't even type correctly. If you are able to restrain the dog you are able to call authorities as well. They reacted aggressively obviously. And now they get what they deserve for beating a dog. It's 1 thing dog vs dog. But a human holding it down and beating it is ridiculous. So yea. Get lost bro

Noel Acevedo - They were afraid the pit was turn on them stupid

Noel Acevedo - No charges

Noel Acevedo - They got what they deserved they are out free by law

Jakob Palomares - No they deserve worse then that. They held down a dog and beat it. I don't think you understand old man

Noel Acevedo - The judge did thats all i need

Jakob Palomares - This ain't about you.

Noel Acevedo - This is my daughter

Jakob Palomares - Doesn't matter it's animal cruelty.

Jakob Palomares - Should have taught her that was wrong

Noel Acevedo - So what the pit bull did to the poodle is not cruelty

Jakob Palomares - Dogs are different then humans what don't you understand?!! You weren't even there!!! Or else you would have done something!!! The fact is is that it's animal cruelty. How would it be different if you were getting in a fight with another human then people hold you down and beat you with a bat! It's animal cruelty!!!!!!

My Thoughts

OK, your first reaction (without benefit of seeing the video) is that they didn't do anything wrong because the Pit Bull was wandering around loose, spotted the poor Poodle and attacked it. You can see in the video it doing that "Pit Bull head thrashing" where it's trying to break the neck of its victim. So the women run up and do whatever they have to do to stop the attack. 

If they had had a gun and shot the Pit Bull dead right then, I would not have had a problem with that response. 

If they'd beaten the Pit Bull with the baseball bat to get it to let go of the Poodle, I would not have had a problem with that. 

Maybe it's their anger at the situation that made them go temporarily insane, but they don't merely hit the Pit Bull to stop the attack and chase it away so they can go check on their little dog. They seem to have forgotten all about their dog and just want to kill this dog. 

This appears to be one of those Pit Bulls that is animal aggressive, but does not appear to have much interest in attacking people (at least in this case). In the video, you can see the little Poodle scurry back onto its own property and then look back and it appears someone grabs it. It does not appear that the Pit Bull is attempting to attack any of the people standing around. In fact, it kind of looks like he's wondering why they took his toy away.

The heavyset woman, who I'm assuming is Maria, has hold of the long broken chain that the dog was dragging. The dog never once tries to attack her or even act aggressive towards her in the video. However, she repeatedly swings this chain, which is quite long maybe about 15 feet, and hits the dog with it over and over and over. The dog tries to scurry away and she yanks it back - because it's attached to this chain. 

This dog, if it wanted, could have attacked her at any time - but it didn't. Didn't even look like it had that in its mind. Maria continues beating the dog with the chain - and yanking and dragging it back when it tries to get away until Nohemi, the skinny one, arrives in the cul-de-sac with the baseball bat. 

While Maria keeps the dog from getting away, Nohemi beats this dog in the head with full force overhead swings over and over and over again. At one point, the dog is just lying there - with Maria still holding the chain taut - and Nohemi, with all her might, brings the baseball bat down right on the dog's face. I thought its head would explode like a watermelon with that hit. 

I'm assuming the only reason this poor dog isn't dead is because it's a Pit Bull and they've got those blockheads. She must've beaten him in the head at least half a dozen times or more, but with that last hit he jumps up and tries to run only to have Maria yank him back with the chain. 

I couldn't even watch the entire video - I clicked enough to get some screenshots, but it's brutal and horrific. 

Yes, this Pit Bull - in my opinion - should be humanely euthanized for attacking this Poodle. If it does it once, it'll do it again. And it will happen again - chains break, gates don't get completely latched, dogs pull their leashes out of their owner's hands. Anytime this dog sees another animal, it will want to kill it. 

But that's beside the point really because what we're focusing on is what these two horrible women did. And what they did is appalling and disgusting. They were only charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and, although they each received bail amounts of $1,500, the judge made it "PR" which means personal recognizance so they didn't have to pay anything. Just got photographed, fingerprinted and then were allowed to walk right out of the jail. 
Personal recognizance means the pretrial release of a defendant from jail or arrest by a judicial officer without bail. The defendant is released on the basis of a promise made by him/her to return to court. 
That's pathetic. Now I understand why Nohemi's father is bragging in his Facebook posts about it. 

I hope the prosecutor upgrades the charges to aggravated animal cruelty.

Here's the video if you want to watch and decide for yourself.

Posted by Rudy Salinas on Friday, July 28, 2017


(KRGV - July 29, 2017)

Pennsylvania: Michelle Hawkins-Pena and Billy Pena accused of starving their animals

PENNSYLVANIA -- The Bucks County SPCA has seized three starving horses from a property in Bedminster, along with other animals.

The owners are now facing animal cruelty charges.


A shocking photo shows one Bucks County Humane Officer and a volunteer seizing one of the horses, whose ribs are clearly visible.

FOX 29 stopped by the property after being tipped off about the near-death conditions of the animals.

Now, after an investigation, officials have removed three horses, as well as six chickens and a pot-bellied pig.


Animal cruelty charges are pending against the owners of the animals, Michelle Hawkins-Pena and Billy Pena.

Michelle Hawkins-Pena had previously claimed to the Chief of Police that she had rescued them "from the race track".

“We appreciate the support and collaboration of the community and the Bedminster Police Department.

"Despite ordering the owner to provide necessary nutrition and veterinary care, the animals conditions continued to decline and a search warrant was served,” said Humane Society Police Officer Nikki Thompson. 

“A case like this one requires patience and multiple visits to collect sufficient evidence to maximize the likelihood of a conviction of animal cruelty.”

A veterinarian, who is now overseeing the care of the animals, hopes for a full recovery despite the long road ahead.

The Bucks County SPCA is asking for donations to cover the food and medical expenses for the animals.



Woman on Facebook says the two gray horses belong to her:


(Fox29 - July 29, 2017)


(May 2017) New Mexico: Man raising money for his mom after her Corgi was mauled by a Pit Bull tells us, "I have nothing against Pit Bulls"

NEW MEXICO -- My mother's dog was attacked by her neighbor's Pit bull.

Please understand that I have nothing against pit bulls, just so happens that was the breed.

Does he think he'll get more donations if he apologizes for mentioning it was a Pit Bull that attacked? When loved ones are in car accidents, do their relatives tell us, "Please understand I have nothing against Toyotas, just so happens that was the car that slammed into her"??? 

Please do not EVER give people like this your hard-earned money. Find someone else who won't be an apologist. On the other hand, the money is going to his mother, who probably doesn't have the same apologist attitude after seeing her beloved Corgi nearly mauled to death.

She lives in a rural area South of Albuquerque, NM. Her neighbor's are total piles of sh**. She is trying to move to Colorado to be here with her sons and grandson. This very expensive event has set back her home renovations, which need to be done to sell the house. Her neighbors don't care about what happened and are not going to do anything about it. She spends so much time and money rescuing animals and helping everyone around her, please show her that what she does matters and doesn't go unappreciated.

Gidget is doing better. Still having a hard time eating any food. There have not been any set backs, so that's wonderful. Thank you to everyone for your help and support!!

GoFundMe: Welsh Corgi brutally attacked
Created May 6, 2017 by Dave Nelson
on behalf of Catherine Neumann

Washington: Toddler gets 70+ stitches in the face after being attacked by her babysitter's Pit Bull.

WASHINGTON -- Yesterday evening while her mother was a work this beautiful baby Dahlia Avery was [attacked] in the face by the babysitter's dog.

Samantha (Sam) a dear friend of mine and coworker was just leaving her shift as I arrived, Sam was anxious to get out the door to pick up her daughters. Little did she know ten minutes prior, her little love Dahlia was bitten in the face by a pit bull.

When Sam arrived the ambulance was already there waiting for her and caring for Dahlia. Together they drove 120 mph to Seattle's Harborview where Dahlia received more then 70 stitches to repair her face. 

Many of you already know and love Sam the way I do, for those of you who don't let me tell you.....this women is amazing. I'm not just saying that either, she is a single mom of two beautiful daughters who has experienced many hardships with much grace over the years. Yet everyday she comes to work and brightens our days with her great big hugs, and loving smile. Her heart is so strong and her faith in God will not allow it to harden. She carries no anger.

She needs to have anger. A popular song's lyrics says, "Your anger is a gift". How many other children, pets, adults has this dog attacked? Did she report it with the police, animal control? Was the dog euthanized? Was the dog previously declared vicious in which the owner had to maintain liability insurance? 

If you feel it in your heart to donate towards Baby Dahlia's fund it would be much appreciated. These funds will help cover costly medical expenses. Sam is also a home owner who's budget is very tight and can't afford to take this unexpected time off while Dahlia heals. My hope is that we can come together as a family of friends and send some much needed relief and support to this loving family.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for all the support and kind words. Dahlia is doing well. Mama is currently focusing on managing Dahlia's pain and making sure she eating well.

GoFundMe: Baby Dahlia
Created July 22, 2017 by Michelle Sprague Pue
on behalf of Samantha Melvin

United Kingdom: Labradoodle named Tilly attacked by Pit Bull; police officer pepper sprays Pit Bull

UNITED KINGDOM -- Sharon Crampton added 2 new photos to Facebook July 28 at 1:18pm ·

Poor Tilly has been attacked by a Pit Bull dog.

Completely unprovoked, the dog just leapt on her, outside a shop, and it would have killed her if a passing policeman had not intervened with his pepper spray (the dog's owner + my dad + a man driving past, who stopped his car to try to help, could not tear it off Tilly).

CCTV footage shows the attack clearly. She has been operated on and is very poorly. Tilly is the softest, most friendly dog I have ever known. This is just so upsetting.

The #DangerousDogsAct has to be brought in to action to stop people being able to buy these dangerous animals (they may not be dangerous in "the right hands" but they sure as hell are in "the wrong hands").

Tilly is a large dog and has such a thick coat - imagine the damage to a small, thin-coated dog, or a child!

Washington: Ferndale cow cruelty case against Seth Snook doomed by animal control missteps; farmer sues county

WASHINGTON -- Animal control officers in Whatcom County worked without legal authority from 2010 to 2017, an oversight that crippled an animal neglect case against a Ferndale dairy farmer, who was accused of starving his cows.

All felony charges against Seth Daniel Snook were either dropped or deferred, and his attorney maintains the cows at Snook Brook Farms weren’t starving.

Snook’s lawyer, Emily Beschen, argues that the Whatcom Humane Society committed a series of blunders by failing to renew a Superior Court authorization to act as animal control, carrying out an illegal warrant, and destroying the living evidence – the cows, many of which were shot in the head based on one cow’s false-positive test for an infectious disease.

Snook has filed a lawsuit against Whatcom County and the humane society in U.S. District Court for defamation and 18 other alleged injustices.

Public records obtained by The Bellingham Herald tell the story of how the case fell apart. Snook declined an interview for this article.

The Farm

Snook’s dairy came to the attention of animal control in late March, when a farm loan manager, Houston Bruck, tipped off an agriculture investigator in an email about conditions: “Poor feed, poor conditions, animals dying – not good,” Bruck wrote.

Snook, 35, said he fell on hard times when his wife underwent cranial surgery in summer 2016. He was left to care for her, their three daughters and the farm at 6804 Kickerville Road, where Snook’s mother makes cheese under the Pleasant Valley Dairy brand.

Snook fell behind on debt payments. Animals died on the farm, and went weeks without getting buried. 

Records show Snook had been warned about the need to bury dead livestock, to prevent the spread of disease, when inspectors found “mortalities present” on the farm two years earlier. He was not cited then.

Bruck took photos of three fresh carcasses in Snook’s barn in March 2017.

Other farmers also noticed the conditions on the farm, because its manure runoff was polluting ditches and Terrell Creek, a hazard to salmon, shellfish and beaches at a nearby state park.

Some concerned farmers offered help, or even to buy the dairy. They noted the farm itself was in poor condition, but did not see any signs of outright animal cruelty, according to Whatcom Family Farmers, a farm advocacy group. Snook refused to sell the farm.

By Spring 2017, Snook’s cows lived in unsanitary conditions, on a barn floor of sawdust compacted with manure, according to reports by Dr. Amber Itle, a field veterinarian with the state Department of Agriculture. Cows could wander into an unfenced manure lagoon, a sanitation and safety concern, Itle wrote.

All 25 cows – old and young, weak and strong – were mixed together, competing for low-quality, low-protein hay bales that seemed good enough for bedding, but not for a good diet. Dairy cows produce milk even if it harms their health, Itle wrote. Without a diet rich in fat and protein, they can starve on full stomachs.

Animal control officers stepped in to help feed the cows in April.

Itle said four of Snook’s cattle were in such poor shape they should be euthanized. Snook’s attorney doesn’t dispute that a few cows were too thin. Perhaps five had medical reasons that could justify euthanasia, Beschen said, but state law says the owner and a licensed veterinarian should be consulted, “whenever possible.”

Snook gave permission on April 17 for animal control to kill one cow, Babs, who couldn’t lift herself up. He surrendered another sick calf, Becky, who is still alive. Sixteen more were killed at the direction of the humane society without Snook’s input, and in most cases without an endorsement from the veterinarian who shot them.

Warrant Issues

Just before the cattle were seized by animal control, Itle gave Snook three options: sell them; gift the cows to another dairy; or allow routine check-ins from a nutritionist, a veterinarian and animal control. He agreed to sell. The cows were prized Jerseys and Holsteins with good genes, Beschen said.

“He would give them away before he would sell them for meat,” the attorney said.

Nonetheless, Itle advised the cows should go to slaughter.

Snook missed a beef cattle auction in Everson on a Monday in April. He messaged an animal control officer that he would go to the dairy auction that Wednesday so his cows could land in a dairy, and not in a hamburger.

Text messages in the court record show animal control Sgt. Rebecca Crowley replied to Snook, “Yes that’s fine.”

Hours before the dairy auction, however, 23 cows were taken without warning, while Snook worked a graveyard shift at a new non-farming job.

Asked why the deal was broken, humane society director Laura Clark said animal control “remained concerned about the fragile physical condition of the cow victims and their ability to be safely transported and housed at the auction.”

Crowley’s undated report cites anonymous sources who told her Snook planned to sell the cows at auction and buy them back. Crowley feared the cows wouldn’t survive being transported twice, she wrote, and returning the cows to the Snook farm would mean “sealing their fate to be starved to death.” She reported Snook later confirmed that was his plan. Beschen said he misinterpreted the reason he’d been told to sell. Snook thought it was about a lien, Beschen said, not law enforcement.

Records are scarce from the night Crowley executed the warrant. There were no reports from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, because deputies were not present at the scene, a violation of the state law that spells out the powers of animal control officers.

A cow on Seth Snook’s farm on March 29, 2017

Animal control can serve warrants, the law says, but [because they are not certified officers] only if a sheriff’s deputy or a police officer is present. Snook wasn’t provided an evidence inventory receipt - which lists all the property seized from the suspect.

As a result, Snook had no documents to show the cows’ condition at the time of seizure.

“I have never (heard) of something like this done under cover of darkness,” Snook texted Crowley, after he came home to find his cows gone.

Starving, or ‘Arguably Perfect?’

Six of the cows were sent to Pasado’s Safe Haven in Monroe, an animal sanctuary. Two of those were the subject of animal cruelty charges. All six are still alive.

Videos of the cows were taken within two days of seizure. A veterinarian hired by Snook’s defense watched the footage, inspected the cows in person in June, and found they were in almost perfect condition both times.

To be fair, Snook's vet that he hired inspected the cows after they'd been receiving rehabilitative care for two months. Also, you cannot watch a video and determine the health of an animal - it requires hands-on inspection.

Animal control officers painted a far different picture.

“At least 28 animals have been starved and some have starved to death by Mr. Snook,” charging papers state, based on Crowley’s report.

Dairy cows’ bodies are scored on a scale of 1 (emaciated) to 5 (obese), with 3 being a healthy medium. Bruck considered Snook’s cows to be “around a 1, some 2’s, maybe a 3 in there.” 

Itle said in April they looked to be in the 1 or 2 range – from “emaciated” to “poor” – but two weeks later said all could be classified as 1 to 1 ½.

Based on [merely watching a video], the defense’s [paid] veterinarian scored the cows in the 2 ½ to 3 range, “arguably perfect,” Beschen wrote.

Another veterinarian at Pasado’s graded the cows at 2 or 3, but on the beef cattle scale, which goes to 9. Dairy cows aren’t supposed to look like beef cows.

A "3" is considered to be ideal for the average dairy cow

Authorities need to make sure that the 'experts' they're relying on know what they're doing. If you use a dog and cat vet for a livestock case, yes, that vet took courses in college regarding livestock but likely for the last 20 years has not regularly examined or treated livestock. This vet should've known there are different body scoring systems, with different sets of numbers, for beef cattle, for dairy cows, for chickens, for sheep, for pigs, etc.

In court papers, Beschen pointed to a cow with a body score of 1 that won a dairy competition in Colorado, while Snook’s case was pending.

“As dairy cows can be tricky to assess, I’m glad there will be multiple sets of eyes on this issue,” Bruck wrote when he first tipped off inspectors about the farm.

Snook kept cows that were well beyond their prime milking age, and according to his attorney, one of the less healthy cows, Trixie, belonged to someone else, who had entrusted her to Snook to nurse her back to health. Trixie and two others were killed at the humane society’s direction in April, because they couldn’t rise without great difficulty, if at all. Trixie appeared to be “particularly emaciated,” according to the humane society.

Ten more were euthanized by Dr. Robert Holt, a Whatcom County veterinarian, when a blood test on one cow in that group came up positive for Johne’s Disease, an infectious chronic wasting disease present in an estimated 68 percent of U.S. dairy cattle herds.

Roxy, a pregnant cow seized by the Whatcom Humane Society, on 
April 26, 2017. She was among 12 cows who underwent blood tests 
for Johne’s disease in early May. One test came up positive, but 
was later proven to be negative by a more reliable fecal test, court
 records show. In the meantime, the cows were euthanized.

The disease can be fatal, eventually, but Holt wrote he saw no urgent need to kill these cows, or any of the dozen cows killed in May, according to court papers. He said he had been directed to do so by the humane society.

Most of the cows were euthanized May 9, the same day Snook petitioned to keep the cows from being killed. He beat the deadline to make that request by a day, according to Beschen.

A fecal test on the supposedly infected cow later came back negative for Johne’s. Fecal tests are considered the gold standard to test for the disease. No necropsies were performed on any of the cows.

“The Whatcom Humane Society made the difficult decision to euthanize many of the cow victims in this case due to their physical and medical conditions as well as their exposure to a highly contagious disease,” Clark said via email.

“We made the difficult decision based on the information we had at the time,” she added.

Legal Hang-ups

Whatcom County contracts through the Whatcom Humane Society for animal control, as do about half such agencies in the state, said Brian Boman, the president of the Washington Animal Control Association based in Pierce County. Other counties, like Pierce, run an animal control unit through their respective sheriff’s offices.

Animal control agencies often have to go through extra steps to collect and store evidence in cases of alleged neglect, for obvious reasons.

“Our evidence is alive and breathing, it needs to eat. … We have to treat it as evidence, because if we don’t treat it properly, we’re going to ruin our case,” Boman said. “We’ve had some animals in custody for six months (in Pierce County), regardless of the funding aspects, because that’s what we need to do.”

Washington state law requires animal control officers to complete training that’s “satisfactory to a judge” – a program like the National Animal Control and Humane Officer Training Academy, better known as NACHO; or Animal Control Training Services, ACTS, or the training Boman leads through the state association.

Cows on Seth Snook’s farm on March 29, 2017

Once the training is completed, a judge must re-authorize animal control officers every three years.

Whatcom Humane Society animal control officers received training, but missed deadlines to re-certify, starting as far back as 2010. Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett ruled the officers were certified moving forward. But she did not give a retroactive approval to officers who missed their deadlines, including Crowley.

Meanwhile, other past or current animal cruelty cases shouldn’t be affected by the oversight, said Eric Richey, the chief criminal deputy prosecutor.

Charges in Snook’s case were based on reports put together by the humane society and the state Department of Agriculture.

My Thoughts

Seth Snook is no angel. A year prior, animals were starving and dying and left to rot. He was given a "get out of jail free" card back then, probably due to the medical issues his wife was dealing with, and given an opportunity to make corrections and take better care of the animals. This is not unusual when dealing with livestock and farmers; it's their livelihood and like it or not, livestock animals such as chickens, pigs and cattle suffering is not seen as equal to a dog or cat suffering.

A year later, in March 2017, a farm loan manager was on the farm and saw horrific conditions - suffering and dead animals. The Department of Agriculture and Animal Control stepped in. 

Snook gave permission for a cow and calf that were dying to be shot. However, for some reason, Animal Control directed a veterinarian to shoot and kill 16 emaciated cows - even though the vet objected to it. In my opinion, if this vet disagreed s/he should have refused and left the property. 

Then Animal Control agreed to let Snook take his animals to auction. This was the best solution for all parties involved - including the animals. Snook missed a beef cattle auction on Monday, but had texted the animal control officer saying that he would instead take the dairy cows to a dairy auction that Wednesday -- just two days away. The officer told him that was fine and then they swooped in Wednesday morning with a search warrant and seized the cattle.

This was a HUGE mistake and should never have happened. It would be one thing if he'd refused to maintain contact with animal control or he'd been planning on hauling them to another jurisdiction to hide them. However, I would think that Snook would get more money for dairy cows, whatever shape they're in, at a diary auction rather than a beef auction. And it was only two more days. 

Animal control officer Rebecca Crowley heard through the grapevine that Snook was planning on selling his cows at auction only to buy them back. OK, so what? I can only imagine he would lose money on this hair-brained idea. If he was dumb enough to do this, he'd be bringing the same cows back to his property and would still be under intense scrutiny. 

So Crowley and Animal Control decide to secure a search warrant to seize the cows, which were being readied for transport to the dairy auction which was taking place later that day. They were in such a hurry to do this, apparently, that they broke the law which says that a certified law enforcement officer needed to be present on search warrants. Snook wasn't there when they showed up and loaded up his cows. They left a copy of the search warrant for him, but failed to leave a property receipt, which lists all the property removed.

Was a veterinarian on scene during the search warrant? You can't do a land grab and just take all the animals because you feel sorry for them or you don't think the owner 'deserves' them. You can only take the animals which are part of the cruelty case, animals that are evidence of animal cruelty. And, especially with livestock cases, a veterinarian is needed to determine body scores and physical health - and cherry pick the ones that need to be seized. As hard as it is, you have to leave animals behind sometimes. Unless, of course, you have a licensed veterinarian telling you to take them all - based on lack of food, dangerous living conditions, etc. This vet will be expected to defend this decision in the court case. 

So now you've got Snook's attorney arguing the merits of the seizure. He's hired his own defense vet, if you will, who watches video of the animals of the seizure and proclaims them healthy. This is speculative. To properly body score an animal, you have to put your hands on the animal, not watch some shaky video. This same vet hired by the defense did eventually do a hands-on exam on the cows, proclaiming them healthy - but only after the cows had been seized and properly fed for two months.

Then, we move on to the issue with Dr. Robert Holt. Tests were done on ONE cow that resulted in, what we now know was a false positive for Johne's disease. Despite Dr. Holt's objections, animal control ordered that the ten cows be shot and killed. Dr. Holt also claimed that he had objected to the previous group of cows being killed.

Snook had a deadline of May 10 to file a petition to try to convince a judge to stop the cows from being put down. He filed the papers on May 9th, the same day that most of the cows were killed. This really smells bad... the only way animal control could've killed the cows is if a vet made the medical decision that it was necessary to end their suffering. Well, the vet in question, Dr. Holt says he never agreed to this.

But, I also have to question whether Dr. Holt is being truthful at this point? Now he says he objected to it, but if he objected to it back when the cows were still alive, why did he kill (euthanize) them? If I were him, I'd have told Crowley, "I don't agree with this and I'm not putting them down. I'm not going to be a part of this" and I would've left. Why did Dr. Holt go ahead and kill them? Sure makes it seem like Dr. Holt is now just trying to save his own butt.

After killing all the cows suspected of harboring Johne's disease, fecal tests came back negative. No necropsies were done, which is needed to determine what diseases the cows had that might explain their poor physical condition. If nothing comes back with the necropsy results, then it would have had to have been because Snook starved them. However, because no necropsies were done, they left it open for the defense to argue that anything could have resulted in emaciated conditions of the cows - poison, cancer, etc. and the prosecution can't argue against it because they don't know either. 

Finally, the icing on the crap cake is that these animal control officers hadn't bothered to get themselves re-certified for more than seven years. That's like a police officer losing his/her certification but still making arrests. 

Like I said, Seth Snook is no angel. I believe he has, for years, starved and neglected his livestock animals and when they died, he left them to rot. They were means to make money. If he couldn't afford to feed them, oh well. When they died, oh well. He rebuffed assistance from the farming community and basically stuck his head in the sand and ignored the ever-worsening conditions and suffering he inflicted on his animals.

A cow on Seth Snook’s farm on March 29, 2017

This case turned sour when animal control broke the verbal (and text) contract by telling Snook he could sell them at the dairy auction and then seizing them within hours of the auction. From there, it just got worse and worse. 

As a result, Snook does not have to answer for his crimes - of which I'm sure he's guilty of (starving his animals, failing to provide needed veterinary care, proper disposal of dead animals). The still-surviving livestock animals were ordered returned to him and Snook has filed a lawsuit against the county. My guess is he will quietly receive a fairly decent sized settlement check - paid for by the taxpayers of Whatcom County for this clusterf**k of an investigation. 

The people in charge of this investigation need to be fired and the rest need to have extensive remedial training to prevent something like this from ever happening again. 

(The Bellingham Herald - July 30, 2017)