The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for starving three dogs in the Seattle area. Seattle Animal Shelter animal control officers are investigating two separate cases in which the dogs were found severely malnourished.
The cases: On July 26, an approximately 8-to-10-month-old pit bull-type dog was found at 55th Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street, just outside the Pritchard Beach Park. A good Samaritan immediately brought the dog to a veterinarian, where it was found to be emaciated, dehydrated and covered in urine. The dog was hunched, weak and barely able to walk. Seattle Animal Shelter investigators believe the dog was kept in a crate or other small, confined area where it was unable to move.
In a second case on Aug. 14, two dogs were found together in the South Seattle or Kent area. Both are roughly 1 to 2 years old and were found dehydrated and severely underweight. They are pit bull-type dogs and may be littermates.
Animal cruelty: Violence against animals is a crime that affects entire communities. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and many other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault. Securing the serious attention and engagement of law enforcement officials, prosecutors and residents in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the whole community.
“When found the first dog weighed only 18 pounds. After two and a half weeks, the dog gained 8 pounds — simply from being fed,” said Ann Graves, Seattle Animal Shelter director. “We believe it had been confined, meaning someone did this to the dog. This is inhumane and illegal, and we hope someone in the community who knows something will come forward.”
“Allowing an animal to starve is unconscionable and a clear violation of our state’s animal cruelty statutes,” said Dan Paul, Washington senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful the Seattle Animal Shelter is able to provide care for these animals while they investigate this crime. We are hopeful this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous act of cruelty.”
The investigators: The Seattle Animal Shelter is asking anyone who may have information about any of these dogs to call Brandi Homeier, field services supervisor, at 206-386-1985, or the main shelter information line at 206-386-PETS (7387). Any information about the people who did this is vital to solving these cases, Graves said.
First degree animal cruelty is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. The Seattle Animal Shelter enforces both SMC 9.25.081 and RCW 16.52.205, which make it illegal to abuse or neglect an animal. If you suspect an animal is being abused or neglected, the Seattle Animal Shelter suggests the following:
- Note the date, time and address/location of the animal and caretaker and provide as much detail as possible. (Photos and videos are helpful, if you can safely capture that information.)
- Unless there are exigent circumstances, the shelter does not recommend intervening, so the appropriate jurisdiction can collect evidence and document the violations.
- Call your local animal control agency or police department to make a report as soon as possible. In Seattle, the animal control agency is the Seattle Animal Shelter (206-386-7387). For the rest of King County, contact the Regional Animal Services of King County (206-296-7387).
Resources: The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources and support to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. We offer rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and work to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.
The Humane Society of the United States has doubled its standard cruelty reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from a board member. For information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, visit https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-facts-and-stats.