2011 began with important investigations that defined the year… Pasado’s launched an investigation into horses who were allegedly starved. A horse owner in Mason County, WA, stated that two of his horses had been shot to death. A deputy who examined the animals never found any bullets or bullet wounds. Photographic evidence indicated that the horses actually starved to death. The owner’s remaining horses received a 1 on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 representing starving. Despite the diligence of Pasado’s investigative team, charges were not brought against the owner of the deceased horses. While we were deeply disappointed with this outcome, the case illuminated the need for proper protocol for law enforcement during animal abuse and neglect cases and galvanized Pasado’s team to continue to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office claimed that this horse was not starving
January continued with the case of more than 30 animals who were found starved to death in a Granite Falls home. A team from Pasado’s Safe Haven assisted the Granite Falls Police Department in removing the bodies. Three cats were found alive and were taken in by Pasado’s Safe Haven. Diane Cowling, the former homeowner, lived with the dead animals up until December. Diane Cowling, 65, and her son Michael Cowling, 35, were arrested on January 24. Police discovered three animals living with them in their new apartment, including a puppy who was no more than 2 months old. Those animals were also taken to Pasado’s Safe Haven for evaluations and care.
In February, in the home where the 31 animals had been found dead, a live cat was found miraculously still clinging to life. Investigators had believed that all survivors had been rescued, but the cat had likely been hiding when the house was searched. February continued with a school bus driver in Winlock, WA, finding a dog in a ditch who appeared to be dead. Upon closer examination, the dog was discovered to still be alive. The bus driver rushed the dog to veterinarian Brandy Fay, who determined that the dog, dubbed Phoenix, had been shot. A weapons expert stated that someone had stood approximately two feed above the dog, putting a 40-caliber bullet behind her ear that was meant to kill the dog. Despite the shooter’s best efforts, Phoenix survived the ordeal. Pasado’s Safe Haven offered a $1,000 reward to catch and convict the person who shot Phoenix.
Phoenix safely in the arms of Vet Tech, Lacey. Dr. Fay is holding up the bullet which tore through Phoenix’s body.
February also saw the re-launch of the Spay Station. On Spay Day USA (Feb 22), Pasado’s proudly kicked off our new “Get Fixed! Prevent a Litter – Fix Your Critter!” program which offered low-cost and free spay and neuter services to families who otherwise would not be able to afford it. Lakewood Mayor Douglas Richardson, a team from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation and Pasado’s staff and volunteers gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation graciously granted funding to Pasado’s, allowing The Spay Station to perform a year’s worth of spay and neuter services to pets in need in Pierce County.
In March, Michel Cowling pleaded guilty to six felony counts of animal abuse. Cowling had been in custody since he was charged in January. The outcome for Diane Cowling was far different. According to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, Diane Cowling died of acute coronary artery thrombosis, which is commonly referred to as a heart attack.
Diane Cowling – photo courtesy of KOMONews.
April saw the passage of S.S.B. 5065 Preventing Animal Cruelty. The bill was sponsored by Senator Mike Carrell (R-28) and received strong bipartisan support, passing by a vote of 47-0 in the senate and 93-2 in the house. Senator Carrell commented on the importance of S.S.B. 5065. “My bill corrects gaps in the existing law that allow people convicted of animal cruelty to easily become repeat offenders. As an animal lover myself, I am very pleased to see this bill enacted. It will be an important tool to help prevent the horrific cases of ongoing animal abuse.” The passage of this landmark legislation is a true victory for the animals because it contains numerous important amendments that provide added protection for all companion animals.
In April, Pasado’s also presented the first annual Bucky Award. Pasado’s, in coordination with the Washington State Crime Prevention Association (WSCPA), presented the 1st Annual Excellence in Animal Cruelty Investigation and Prosecution Award at the WSCPA Spring Conference. This is a grant award of $2500 each to the law Enforcement Agency and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that is determined to have successfully completed the most significant investigation and prosecution of an animal cruelty case. The purpose of the award is to raise awareness of animal cruelty and the links to violent crimes. Stacie Martin, Director of Operations for Pasado’s, presented the grant awards to Deputy Michael Vafeados of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Mr. Paul Stern, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney.
In May, teenagers responding to an advertisement for cats on Craigslist were accused of abusing one of the cats. Rather than caring for the cats, as they had assured the cats’ owner, the teenagers threw a cat named Abby out of the car. Thankfully, the young sister of one of the teens called the police and the cat was rushed to Pasado’s Safe Haven. Twelve-year-old Amanda Lee had accompanied the two teenagers, including her older brother, who were responding to the advertisement that a woman had placed regarding her cats. The woman was unable to care for the cats any longer and was offering $60 for someone to transport them to the shelter. While the teens were happy to take the payment, they had no intention of keeping their word or providing a safe trip to the shelter. Amanda’s courageous choice to speak out against animal abuse saved Abby’s life. Pasado’s Safe Haven strongly discourages anyone from placing animals on Craigslist!
Abby has fully recovered after her ordeal.
In June, there were tragic cat killing sprees in Spanaway and Battle Ground, WA. The killing sprees had Pasado’s Safe Haven worried that the killer could eventually harm people. More than 20 cats were killed in the area since January. Pasado’s offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the killings. To date, the killer still has not been found and the reward remains open.
June continued with Pasado’s largest cat rescue to date. In Lewis County, WA, three local rescue organizations, including Pasado’s, rescued more than 100 cats from a hoarder’s home. Crews from Animal Planet recorded footage at the home while dozens of staff and volunteers helped rescue the cats. Footage from this hoarding case aired on Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding on December 30.
In July, Pasado’s hosted Pasado’s Bark at Marymoor Park. The event featured a fundraising walk, the opportunity to speak with numerous animal-related companies and services, flyball competitions, a children’s area with face painting, raffle prizes, and multiple opportunities to socialize with canine companions.
Pasado’s Bark at the Park
In August, Pasado’s supported Charles and Deidre Wright, whose Newfoundland, Rosie, had been fatally shot in November of 2010. The Des Moines police officers who had a responded to a call for a loose dog in the neighborhood had used deadly force against Rosie and an internal investigation ensued. Charles and Deidre Wright asked for a chance to have their case heard and requested that the police officers face criminal charges for Rosie’s death. Despite evidence that supported wrongdoing in Rosie’s case, the police officers were not charged in her death. Mr. Wright sought appellate review of Judge Bui’s decision. The court found that Mr. Wright had standing for issuance of a writ, but decided to reserve ruling on whether to issue such writ until argument next year. Judge Okrent will decide the appeal of Mr. Wright and cross-appeal of the City sometime in March, 2012.
Rosie was a gentle giant and beloved family member.
August also saw the sad passage of a devoted friend to the animals. Louis St. Martin, 63, truly lived up to his name: He was a saint for the animals who stepped in when no one else could. In 2005, when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, this kind man opened his heart and his newly constructed barn to rescue teams from Pasado’s Safe Haven and hundreds of frightened, hungry, and sick animals who were devastated by the storm. We were truly saddened to learn this brilliant man lost his life in a tragic plane crash on August 21, but the man who saved the lives of so many will live on in the memories of those who he profoundly touched over the years.
September saw the arrival of Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus in Washington State. Pasado’s stood in solidarity with other animal welfare groups to protest the circus’ presence. In September, this circus had numerous venues in Washington State. But this circus isn’t just a venue of entertainment – it’s also an organization that has a long history of animal mistreatment.
In October, Pasado’s was featured on New Day Northwest in October. Three of our senior dogs and one kitten strutted their stuff in a Howl- o-ween Pet Fashion Show. Animals who once had no other hope had a moment to shine. Many thanks to Danita at Dmarie’s Doggie Boutique for dressing our dogs and kitten in their great Halloween costumes.
In November, Pasado’s launched a new Feral Cat Task Force. A coalition was formed consisting of Pasado’s, Purrfect Pals, MEOW Cat Rescue, and Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project. This Task Force promotes the spay/neuter of feral (untamed outdoor) cats through humane Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR). The Feral Cat Task Force is recruiting volunteers for classroom and field training. November also saw deputies seize 100 dogs from homes in Burien and Issaquah after an anonymous tipster sent video documenting the animals’ living conditions to Pasado’s Safe Haven. Many of the dogs found within the homes were in poor health, including missing or nonexistent teeth and vision problems including complete blindness. The Burien home housed 38 dogs, including Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Japanese Chins. In the Issaquah home, there were 62 dogs, most of which were in better health and in cleaner conditions. According to a sheriff’s office news release, all of the animals were in relatively poor health and were kept in extremely dirty dog crates. Sadly, while Pasado’s intervened on the behalf of these dogs, 14 of them had to be euthanized. Pasado’s discovered that the owner of these dogs was an AKC Judge and Pasado’s sought the maximum sentence in this case. As the case unfolded, it received national news coverage. Pasado’s is still waiting on an update about the prosecution in this case.
In December, Pasado’s opened an Adoption/Education Center on Whidbey Island! On December 3, we held our first open house and met many new friends in the community. This is an exciting new venture for Pasado’s, as our ultimate goal is to acquire flat pastureland, allowing us to open a second sanctuary where we will be able to save many more cats, dogs, and farm animals! Pasado’s also hosted the eighth annual Home for the HOWLidays. On Tuesday, December 20th, needy pets in 10 cities in WA state received food, toys, treats and bedding. This heartwarming event is always a wonderful way to conclude the year.
During 2011, Pasado’s rescued and assisted countless animals. We adopted out 51 dogs, 69 cats, and 28 farm animals as well as fostered out an additional 32 dogs and 21 cats.
Sadly, we also had to say goodbye to many friends, young and old. Some were so injured that we only knew them for a short time. Whether they live their entire life at the sanctuary, find their forever home elsewhere, or are just held in the loving arms of a caretaker while they are released from this world, they will always be a part of our Pasado family and our love for them will always remain. Though each goodbye breaks our hearts, we are thankful that they came to us and are comforted knowing that with your help, they were given back their dignity, a better life, and shown that yes, they are loved.
Stella, pictured with her friend, is one of the fortunate dogs who found their forever families in 2011
Phoebe, who was adopted in 2011, is happy in her forever home
While we are delighted that so many animals found forever families, several adoptions were particularly touching. Eva the goat had been our herd leader here at the sanctuary. She was finally adopted with her friend, Billy, after living here for many years. Eva and Billy were adopted by a family with an autistic son in his twenties who loves animals. It was truly heartwarming to see her standing so contentedly in the specially designed bus as her new family drove out of the sanctuary’s gates. Now Eva, Billy, and their new person can get the therapy and comfort of spending time with each other, since he takes care of the farm animals most of the time.
Merlin found true magic with his special someone, Roopini D.
Merlin is a feline friend who also finally found his special someone in 2011. Merlin is a black, long-haired cat who was one of the Lewis County hoarding case rescues. He was fostered by one of our volunteers, Roopini D., who loved him even with his deformed ears, which were caused by untreated medical issues. Roopini saved up her money until she could adopt little Merlin and make it official. As of December 30, there are still 8 cats from the hoarding case who need to find homes. We hope that they find loving new homes in the New Year.
Ferdinand has found his forever home!
The past year brought amazing things for the animals. We are thankful to all who helped us during 2011 – staff, volunteers, Good Samaritans, Law Enforcement, fellow rescue and welfare organizations; but the greatest thanks of all go to YOU, our supporters! Your support and donations allow us to continue this lifesaving work. From everyone at Pasado’s Safe Haven, Happy New Year – and may 2012 continue to bring about powerful change for the animals.