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Bucky Award

Bucky Award

“THE BUCKY AWARD” FOR EXCELLENCE:  Bucky the dog was brutally killed in 2010. Thanks to the officers and prosecutors working on this case, the perpetrator was charged and served jail time. In memory of Bucky, Pasado’s Safe Haven offers this annual award to raise awareness about crimes against animals and to recognize the officers and prosecutors who do exceptional work on these difficult cases.

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How it works

First place is presented annually in the community where the winners are located to the “team” (the responding officer and the prosecutor) who most successfully investigates and prosecutes an animal cruelty case. Funds are raised by Pasado’s Safe Haven and its supporters. The award money ($6,000) is split between winning departments and must be used for further animal cruelty investigation and prosecution related training, equipment or tools.

Criteria and how to apply

  • For a case to be eligible for the 2019 Bucky Award, it must have reached a disposition in 2019 or in 2020 prior to the nominations deadline.
  • The individual or case can be nominated by a citizen, an officer or a prosecutor.
  • Submit your nomination to begin the process.
  • Deadline for nominations is July 10, 2020.

2018 Bucky Award Winners

First Place

Officer Erika Johnson, Thurston County Joint Animal ServicesErika Johnson has investigated over 4,000 animal cruelty/neglect cases to date in the states of Washington and Oregon. She is the Vice President of the Washington Animal Control Association, board member of the Federation of Animal Law, member of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, and is highly respected in this field.

Deputy Prosecutor Brandi Archer, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorneys Office: Brandi Archer has worked as a Deputy Prosecutor for Thurston County since 2011. Brandi is currently the Team Leader for the Juvenile Team, with responsibility for a broad range of criminal prosecutions, including felony crimes of animal cruelty. 

THE CASE (WARNING – Sensitive Content): The offender was arrested on February 10, 2018 and later charged with 13 felony counts of Animal Cruelty for bestiality. Sex crimes against animals are typically very hard to investigate. Officer Johnson and Prosecutor Archer spent hundreds of hours on this extremely disturbing case, including obtaining detailed evidence and ensuring forensic sexual examinations were performed. The victim dogs received rehabilitation and behavior training for the trauma they endured. The offender was sentenced to 22 months in prison and banned for life for owning dogs.

Second Place: Bothell Police Animal Control Officer Kristi Boucher & Bothell Prosecutor Laura Fitzgibbon

The case involved child abuse and animal cruelty charges. Responding officers were shocked to find unsupervised and malnourished children who were responsible for two pit bulls that were tethered together and fighting, and a third dog left in a vehicle in distress. Neighbors reported that the children were asking whether they could mow their lawns in exchange for money to buy food. In the trailer were several loaded firearms, drug paraphernalia, sex toys on the bed, lice and clutter. On a welfare check, ACO Boucher found the dogs now locked in a trailer with no ventilation on a hot day. She did a fantastic job building her case, interviewing several witnesses, taking photographs, getting veterinarian testimony, and writing several reports. The immediate response resulted in a quick rescue for the dogs, who received immediate medical care. This case exemplified, not only a “no-man-left-behind” attitude, but a “no-being-left-behind” mentality. The police showed extreme compassion for the kids, putting together a donation funded by the officers themselves for clothes, toys, and toiletries.

Exceptional Performance Case #1: Stevens County Deputy Jessica Garza

Stevens County Deputy Jessica Garza quickly acted on information that was provided to her by concerned citizen regarding a case of animal cruelty involving eight dogs and two chickens. The animals were kept in filthy conditions and deprived of water, food and exercise. One of the animals eventually died of starvation and two were near death when rescued. All were extremely unhealthy. Deputy Garza did not just visit the suspect residence once, but persisted in checking on the animals multiple times, requested other deputies to do the same between her shifts, then wrote a search warrant to seize the animals and collect evidence. She took video and photographic evidence while serving the warrant and had a veterinarian perform a necropsy on one of the animals that had died of starvation. The offender pleaded guilty to three counts of Animal Cruelty in the Second Degree and three counts of Transporting or Confining in an unsafe manner.

Exceptional Performance Case #2Monroe Police Community Service Officer Gaby Escalante

CSO Gabriela Escalante responded to a residence on report of a deceased dog inside a shoebox on the front porch. Neighbors alleged there were multiple puppies inside the home, and subsequent contact with the primary occupant revealed dire conditions for the remaining puppies in his possession that were in poor health. In total, five puppies died as a result of being malnourished and improperly cared for. Because of CSO Escalante’s actions, five puppies were safely rescued, provided care, and were adopted from a shelter. CSO Escalante’s immediate response and comprehensive investigation helped to charge the suspect with Animal Cruelty in the First Degree.

Exceptional Performance Case #3: Colville Tribal Police Officer Andrew Kline

Officer Andrew Kline immediately responded to a report of animal abuse. A starving and emaciated shepherd mix dog was confiscated after being found living in awful conditions and surviving on an occasional ration of rotten meat. The dog was unable to stand, and was immediately brought to a vet and hospitalized for two days. When brought to a home, he could barely stand when lifted to his feet and would visibly wince when touched. After three days he stopped eating, his eyes would not focus and he was completely unresponsive. Sadly, two vets agreed the only reasonable course of action was euthanasia. Okandogs, the responding rescue organization, reported the incident as the worst case of animal abuse they had seen in dealing with over 2,500 dogs. Officer Kline performed a major role in forwarding the case for prosecution. The suspect was convicted in a jury trial of cruelty to an animal.

Officer Andrew Kline with police dispatcher Shan Birdtail whose support is integral to this work.

Prior Bucky Award Winners

2018: Thurston County Joint Animal Services Officer Erika Johnson and Thurston County Prosecutor Brandi Archer
2017: 
Thurston County Joint Animal Services Officer Erika Johnson and Thurston County Prosecuting Attorneys Office Deputy Prosecutor Jim Powers
2016: Wenatchee Valley Animal Control Sergeant Sandra Larsen and Chelan County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Van Winkle
2014-15: Whatcom Humane Society and Prosecutor Eric Richey
2013: Marysville Police Officers Dave Vasconi and Brad Smith and Prosecutor Jennifer Millett
2012: Port Orchard Police Sergeant Jason Glantz and Prosecutor Barbara Dennis
2011: Granite Falls Police Chief Dennis Taylor
2010: Snohomish County Deputy Michael Vafeados and Prosecutor Paul Stern

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