UPDATE: Margie Hamilton is due in King County Superior Court for arraignment on June 5th on two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Pasado’s Safe Haven recently launched an investigation into an alleged hoarding situation in Burien, WA and Issaquah, WA. Between two homes, a total of 100 small dogs were being hoarded.
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 Safe Haven intervened on the behalf of these dogs, 14 of them had to be euthanized. The remainder of the dogs have been taken to CARES in Burien. Please contact them if you are interested in fostering or adopting. ((206) 81-CARES or (206) 812-2737)
The video footage obtained was shocking.
The basement was so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. The windows were blacked out and there was ripped up plastic hanging from the door jam at the entrance of the room. There had to be a pungent stench of urine and feces. The sound of dogs frantically barking almost overpowered a radio. It was a sad, odd juxtaposition of sound: Alarmed cries and indistinguishable voices accompanied by old, loud music.
When a light was turned on, each little set of eyes glowed back at the camera. The brightness of the light was foreign and alarming to them. Some of them looked desperate, their cries and expressions begging to escape; some were neurotic, spinning uncontrollably; and others were hopeless, lying in the back of the little crates lined with urine and feces. It is hope that dies last, and their dejection broke our hearts.
The cage doors were rusted with mats of fur that were stuck to the bars. Fear was palpable in the urine-soaked air. Watching the video, we could feel the despair and desperation of each tiny soul who had been in these deplorable conditions for an unknown duration of time. Who could do this to living sentient beings?
As each face was illuminated with the light, our anger grew to rage: Rage for these voiceless victims who had suffered so long in silence. How long had they been left like this, stacked one on top of another? Their silhouettes seem to span the length of the room. How many were there?
The Owner is a Judge for the American Kennel Club (AKC)
When we discovered who owned these dogs, we were shocked and disgusted that one of the people responsible for this was none other than a judge for the American Kennel Club. The other person was also highly involved with showing dogs. Margi and James Hamilton were a “dog duo” and had been involved with breeding and showing dogs for decades. James was the president of the Puget Sound Doberman Pincher Club and a member of the Mount Rainier Working Dog Club for Great Pyrenees and Dobermans. Margi is a judge for the AKC and has achieved their highest standing. In the September 2011 issue of the AKC “Secretary’s Page,” it lists Margi Hamilton under Approved Breed Judges. Margi is also a judge for the American Rottweiler Club, a member of the Mount Rainer Working Dog Club, and she has had some of the top show Chihuahuas in the world. She was only a few days away from sending one of her dogs off to another big show when the truth behind her AKC judge’s badge was uncovered.
A total of 100 dogs were rescued from this “dog duo.” Of the 38 dogs pulled out of the unspeakable conditions in Burien, 14 could not be saved. Tragically, their lives were cut short when they had to be euthanized.
Law Enforcement is Working Hard to Assure Proper Prosecution
When Pasado’s Safe Haven reported this to Law Enforcement, they began an investigation. Soon after this situation was discovered, those little dogs’ voices were finally heard. Every dog was pulled from the darkness and out into the fresh night air. Each little dog was carefully examined and given a clean, warm place to lay. They were finally out of that black basement, finally free from that perpetual hell…the only existence that they may have ever known.
The emotional and financial investment that go into a rescue like this one are tremendous: Time, effort, resources, heart, and hope. Pasado’s Safe Haven wants to assure that those 14 dogs who died and the 86 who suffered will not be forgotten. Law Enforcement is also working hard to assure the proper prosecution of the individuals responsible for this display of absolute disregard for the lives of these dogs.
Margi’s husband, James, recently died unexpectedly after the investigation began. Margi claims that she had no knowledge of the condition of her dogs in that Burien basement. Because of this claim, there has been speculation that Margi may not get charged for the torture and abuse that she has been committing for decades. As she continued to let these dogs suffer without food, water, sanitation or medical attention, she was able to maintain the façade that she upheld the highest standard of care.
The owner of the Burien home, Mike Stober, knew what was occurring in his basement. He now claims that he, too, had no knowledge of the abuse and conditions that were present one floor below his own home. It is impossible that he was unable to hear the dogs’ cries and the blaring music or smell the fetid urine and feces.
Breeding is a Money-Making Business…
There are many breeders who breed their dogs for that reason alone. The dogs who had been shoved away into that Burien basement had possibly at one time been her prize dogs. When they no longer could bring money in, they became as useless as the old, rusty crates that became their prison. Many of these “once-prized” pups was denied even access to food or water. This case is still being processed for the charges. Pasado’s is standing by to do whatever we can to assure that this person can no longer work with, own, or reside with dogs. Pasado’s feels strongly that the owner of the home should also be held accountable for allowing this inhumane treatment to exist in his home without stopping it. He, too, has a long history of working with and breeding dogs.
Adopt a Shelter Animal and SAVE A LIFE
Pasado’s is committed to preventing the undue suffering and pain of innocent animals. Approximately 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year in shelters nationwide – a staggering 60 percent of all dogs and 70 percent of all cats who find themselves at a shelter. Five out of every ten dogs and seven out of every ten cats in shelters are destroyed simply because there is no one to adopt them. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), twenty-five percent of the dogs who enter local shelters are purebred. And according to Ralston Purina and NCPPSP, approximately 15 to 20 percent of dogs are purchased from breeders. Investigating breeding operations and puppy mills is a large part of this commitment of care. We currently have 7 suspected puppy mill cases that we are investigating.
If you are considering getting a purebred puppy for the holidays this year, please think again. Do you know where they really came from? It is so important to adopt dogs instead of breeding or buying them. Instead of supporting inhumane breeding operations, you can save a life by adopting a rescued animal. And with public pressure, we can work to shut down similar breeding operations and puppy mills and cease the demand for the “perfect” purebred. For surely, there is no perfection in cruelty and callousness. Pasado’s is one of the only 24-hour animal rescues in Washington State. We are here for the animals 365 days a year. Even though it’s the holiday season, the abuse and neglect do not cease. Please consider making a donation today to help us continue with our life-saving work. Together, we can speak for those who do not have a voice, shutting down puppy mills and prosecuting those who have caused such unimaginable pain.
Thank you – from everyone at Pasado’s Safe Haven. Together, we truly can make a world of difference.