UPDATE: Seattle Animal Shelter investigators find more than 200 animals at Delridge home; 1 man arrested

(WSB photos)

5:26 PM: Thanks for the tip about Seattle Animal Shelter and SPD officers at a house this afternoon near 26th and Findlay.

Officers at the scene wouldn’t comment but here’s what SAS spokesperson Melissa Mixon tells WSB:

The Seattle Animal Shelter is conducting an investigation into an animal welfare and potential animal cruelty case. Working jointly with Seattle Police Department, the shelter successfully executed a search warrant early this afternoon and discovered at least 200 animals in the home. These animals include dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs. and chinchillas. Some of the animals were deceased inside the home.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are limited in what we can say so as not to jeopardize the investigation and due process. While this investigation is ongoing, animals seized from the property will be moved into the care of the Seattle Animal Shelter for evaluation.

Seattle Animal Shelter is authorized under City code to investigate cases and bring forth charges of animal cruelty. First-degree animal cruelty is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

We will follow up to see how the case proceeds.

7:13 PM UPDATE: An update from Mixon – she says one person is in custody, and clarifies that investigators “found more than 200 live animals in a home .. An unknown number of deceased animals were also discovered in a second home on the property. Investigators are still working to determine the exact amount. Seattle Animal Shelter Director Ann Graves described the scene in the homes as one of the most severe cases of animal neglect and cruelty she has seen in her 20-year career. As in many animal welfare cases, the discovery and seizure of these animals was in part thanks to a vigilant community member who saw something and said something. It’s a reminder to all of us that animals don’t have a voice and that’s why it’s so important for us all to remain vigilant and help speak for them when something seems wrong. ”

9:37 PM: The suspect, a 54-year-old man, was booked into King County Jail for investigation of animal cruelty. He does not appear to have a criminal record. Meantime, there’s a discussion in comments below about what SAS might need to care for the seized animals; one commenter says they’re already emailing people who have fostered animals before.

ADDED FRIDAY: Our extensive followup, including how to help the rescued animals, is here.

56 Replies to "UPDATE: Seattle Animal Shelter investigators find more than 200 animals at Delridge home; 1 man arrested"

  • sgs October 15, 2020 (6:27 pm)

    Thank you to whomever reported this and thank you to the Seattle Animal Shelter for caring for these animals.  These cases are so heartbreaking and result from many different reasons.  They cannot be allowed to continue.  Time to donate to the animal shelter – they will need it. 

  • Annaeileen October 15, 2020 (6:50 pm)

    That is so sad!  I run by there a few times a week and it’s such a quiet stretch through there.  I am heartbroken knowing animals were suffering and I was close by but didn’t know.  I know we don’t know the details but people who hoard animals and can’t take care of them and allow them to suffer should not be allowed any pets.  I have adopted cats from hoarding situations and it’s just heartbreaking.

    • annab October 17, 2020 (8:58 am)

      I belong to a FB group, where animal transporters post their routes.  Likely most of those animals were not his, and he was gathering up animals for a transport run.  Some transporters are good, others are shady.  I’ve never heard anything bad about this one (the bad ones news gets around quickly), nor have I heard anything good.  Several hundred animals…..there are bound to be a dead one….especially in the more sensitive short lived species at the bottom of the prey/predator model….such as rabbits stress and die pretty easily. 

  • Kayo October 15, 2020 (7:20 pm)

    I have walked or jogged by here for years and had no idea.  I have seen some chickens and one time saw a fairly good sized pig.  But that was it.  Never even seen a person.  I feel bad I missed this.  So grateful to whoever reported it.  We will be donating to the shelter as well.  

  • Alki resident October 15, 2020 (7:33 pm)

    Does the shelter need anything from the community like towels, food blankets anything? This makes me so sick. This is why it’s so important we never give animals away vs adoption. 

  • West Seattle Animal Lover October 15, 2020 (8:38 pm)

    Our local animal shelters are truly in need of our extra support right now, with so many folks needing to relinquish pets they can no longer afford to care for.   Seattle Animal Shelter is great.  I personally love to support the kind and hardworking folks at Burien CARES  Animal Shelter on 151st SW,  just west of Ambaum.   In addition to  financial support, they tell me they appreciate dry and wet pet food, towels, sheets,  paper towels, wipes, etc.  I understand the shelter dogs and cats do well on the affordable Costco Kirkland pet food, so I usually pick up a couple big bags of kibble whenever I shop Costco and drop them off at Burien CARES.   Heartfelt thanks to Alki Resident for asking how we can help!!!

    • KD October 15, 2020 (8:56 pm)

       You are beyond awesome for your thoughtful donations!! 🐾😆💗 

    • Calires October 15, 2020 (10:08 pm)

      Thanks for sharing this about Burien CARES.  I have had many rescue animals over the years and ended up with so many towels and blankets that I no longer needed that I ended up throwing them away recently (after being turned away at the recycle event).  The animal welfare organizations I contacted about donating either didn’t respond or said they couldn’t use them.  I didn’t know about Burien CARES.

      • Animal gal October 16, 2020 (7:44 am)

        So many rescues need money! Many also have amazon wish lists. Blankets are great if they need them if not it’s another thing to deal with and dispose of. Mostly run my volunteers on tight budgets so that’s why your offer was prob not received. I work in rescue so have first hand knowledge of situations like this! Mostly cash is needed for vet services and care if the animals until homes can be found ♥️

    • Sue H October 16, 2020 (2:07 pm)

      Seattle Animal Shelter also has an Amazon wish list – it’s a really easy way to donate as it gets delivered directly to them.https://smile.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1ZBKOUMN0333D/ref=cm_sw_em_r_z_g__wb

  • FurryFaces October 15, 2020 (8:43 pm)

    Furry Faces Foundation has contacted Seattle Animal Shelter via messaging.  As soon as we have an update, we will share what the animals’ needs are….We are guessing the fostering needs are going to be big. 

    • WSB October 15, 2020 (9:12 pm)

      Thanks, F3!

    • Alex October 15, 2020 (9:21 pm)

      They’re emailing fosters to figure out homes as soon as possible (we’ve already been contacted). Huge kudos to SAS, they’re incredibly caring and excellent at what they do.

      • Wynter October 16, 2020 (3:03 pm)

        Hi Alex! Did they say when they will be releasing animals to homes? I called and they said they would get back to me but they wouldn’t say when. 

    • Cammie October 16, 2020 (2:43 am)

      I am onboard to help with supplies and fostering. I am a pet care professional and have many clients that I can get donations from as well. 

    • Randi October 16, 2020 (9:45 am)

      Thanks, F3! 

  • robert October 15, 2020 (9:38 pm)

    Thanks for the scoop WSB!
    Here’s the donate page on the Seattle Animal Shelter site. They have an Amazon Wish list that is easy to pick stuff for critter and small animals too!

    http://www.seattle.gov/animal-shelter/get-involved/donate

    • ArborHeightRes October 16, 2020 (10:20 am)

      Thank you, Robert, for this tip.  I just donated to Seattle Animal Shelter via their Amazon wish list.  Super easy to do.  I hope these animals can recover and find the loving homes they deserve.  Shoutout also to the person who called authorities to investigate.  We are a community, including our furry friends, so need to look out for one another.  

    • Mel C October 16, 2020 (1:51 pm)

      Thanks for providing the list!! 

  • GHO October 15, 2020 (10:14 pm)

    It was pretty easy to find the house on Google Maps, leading to the arrested male’s name who has many bunny links/breeder “friends” on his Facebook page. There are also pics with a friend/significant other who has lots of guinea pig ties. Who was taking care of the animals on 26th Avenue SW when the two of them were traveling to animal events in late September? It’s all so gross. There’s also an alarming number of black trash bags mixed in with pet carriers and decrepit cars to the north of the house. What’s in the bags? Bless the neighbor who spoke up. I wish the penalties were harsher. 💔

    • ArborHeightsRes October 16, 2020 (4:55 pm)

      As a follow-up to GHO, does anyone know if it’s possible to provide a letter or testify at this person’s trial OR at sentencing, should this person be convicted?  I believe that with other crimes, victims and their families are provided an opportunity to provide a “victim impact statement.” In this case, these beleaguered animals have no one to speak for them except for us.  Maybe it’s a long shot, but perhaps a letter at sentencing (if that occurs) would help ensure this person receives the harshest penalty the law allows.

      • WSB October 16, 2020 (5:35 pm)

        The person has not even been charged yet; that’s not going to happen before Monday. He has had a bail hearing and we’re working on a followup with info on that as well as from the shelter. If he is charged and found guilty either by trial or plea, certainly you can write to the judge before sentencing.

  • Mary Ballou October 15, 2020 (11:20 pm)

    I would love to foster but havent before  but have had a cat and have taken care of a black lab (sisters) Would like to know more about fostering, plus I take care of mom and think it would help her and I with depression. Who can I contact to find out more?

  • Animal gal October 16, 2020 (7:46 am)

    Having animals is a privilege not a right! This person should not be allowed to have animals again! Sadly it’s not often the case! If you want to help donate to animals welfare orgs like Pasados who help change laws as well! And the shelters, adopt only of you can afford to care for an animal for life!!!!! And spay and neuter 

  • feral cat October 16, 2020 (7:59 am)

    These are small animals bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas.  These animals do NOT do well under this kind of stress.  They will all be in bad shape and very under socialized.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from fostering but educate your self on these animals.  It is way different than a cat or dog.  One needs to be able to medicate,  which is hard with very small mouths.  Also with the bridge being down ect,  makes getting to the shelter very hard and emergency after hours care.   Sorry to be the debbie downer, but I feel it is important to lay out the facts.  Some one had a good experience with cares?  hmm not me

    Please also know that no charges will come about and if any actually do, it will be a slap on the wrist and NO JAIL TIME, you know that covid thing.

    Another animal cruelty situation in Tacoma, 2nd time in less than 1 year. 39 pit bulls yesterday, and he never got jail time was “only allowed” 5 dogs, So don’t hold your breath justice will be served.

    • KalGal October 16, 2020 (10:41 am)

      Feral Cat brings up a really good point.  We foster “critters” for the Seattle Animal Shelter and there are many things to learn about critters that are different from a dog or cat.  That said, we have learned how to medicate a mouse, a guinea pig, sex the offspring of a pregnant guinea pig and rabbit. We make a personal commitment to provide attention, food, and care as needed.  We rarely go into the shelter, especially now that Covid has thrown a wrench into the works.  It’s not as easy to go in and out as it used to be.  If you truly love animals, have a good connection to animals and the time and money to put forth for their care, I encourage you to contact them regarding fostering.  They might not be able to take you in right now as there is training involved prior to getting your first critter – but they need fosters all the time.  

  • Joan October 16, 2020 (8:59 am)

    I would like to understand why this happens. Is t here such a thing as animal hoarding? No doubt some mental health issues are involved. Why keep animals you cannot care for?  I am so glad this was discovered and is being resolved. Wow, just like domestic abuse, we never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Kudos to the person who reported something. I trust most of the animals will find new loving homes.

    • T October 17, 2020 (6:58 am)

      While I do not know the specifics of the case, this man was a well known small animal transporter. It is believed that many of the animals seized were not his.

  • Harvey October 16, 2020 (9:50 am)

    I know of another home like this in the area.  Where do we report this?

  • Ex-Westwood Resident October 16, 2020 (10:27 am)

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and the perpetrator will be charged under the “PACT” Act (see below) that President Trump signed in to law last November. That way we can bypass Satterberg and Holmes, who would probably refuse to level charges.

    “The PACT Act — which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture — was signed by the President at the White House, where he said he was “pleased” to approve the legislation. The bipartisan act, which passed the Senate earlier this month, expands a previous law passed in 2010…

    Federal law had previously only prohibited animal fighting and only criminalized animal cruelty if the wrongdoers create and sell videos depicting the act. Under the PACT Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating or impaling animals or sexually exploiting them. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison. Right now, all 50 states have laws on their books against animal cruelty at the state level.

    With Trump’s approval, federal authorities can go after the wrongdoers because they will have federal jurisdiction and will not be bound by state laws. They can also prosecute criminals if the cruelty occurs on federal property.”

    • Melissa October 16, 2020 (12:53 pm)

      Stop using this horrible situation to pimp for Trump. And NO ONE is supposed to go to or ask the President to decide on a prosecution if anyone! That’s not how our government is supposed to work. We aren’t yet a dictatorship. As for a prosecution under federal law, that is decided by the individual US Attorney in the relevant area. So far, there is NOTHING in this story which supports bringing federal charges even under this new law. 

      • Pam October 16, 2020 (6:47 pm)

        Thank You Melissa…well said!This is all about helping the animals in need not well wishes for Trump!!

    • alki_2008 October 16, 2020 (7:59 pm)

      Who cares which president signed it? All the prez did was sign it. He didn’t come up with the idea or do any work getting it to his desk. If you want to praise someone, then praise the sponsors of the bill.
      Besides, the scope of the PACT Act probably wouldn’t apply in this case.

  • Lisa October 16, 2020 (10:47 am)

    Not only are the pets in dire need, the person who had all these animals is also in need of help. These cases are mostly begun as what people believe, they are helping and loving the furbies but then it gets out of control. Shame follows then no where to go for help. My mom almost became one of those “terrible abusers” but she has a family that stepped in. I hope this gentleman has support and gets help. He’s likely in pain himself. And let’s all send light to the ones who will be saved. And a quiet moment for the ones who we lost. 

    • Lisa October 16, 2020 (11:34 am)

      Oh… breeders!!! He’s a breeder!! Now I understand and that’s another conversation. It completely differs from an animal hoarder because money changes people and the motivation is dissimilar. Everyone of those critters have been done wrong by this guy and he’s no different that that dude in Tacoma who just got busted again, for breeding and shooting his dogs. Icky people for sure. 

      • Katniss Bartlett October 22, 2020 (5:36 am)

        Oh breeders?  Not all breeders are puppy mills!  Some of us live the breed we are breeding and breed for perfection not pet shops!  And are careful with placing our babys!  This man I know as well and he spread untrue rumours about my rabbitry a few years ago and then denied it when confronted. He judges rabbits for 4H.  I am shocked and horrified by this!  My heart goes out to those poor animals that suffered and died for no reason!  

  • Karen’s Cove October 16, 2020 (10:55 am)

    Accountability has to go beyond the one person detained. Obviously there was breeding going on kinda hard to avoid. But one would think at the extent of 200 there was more than just breeding. Who or what pet supply chain was allowing one person to purchase so many animals I’m sure there is a system that records this data even if a rewards number wasn’t being used simply his face would be record enough. Is there a such thing as owning too many domestic pets (obviously yes) but which party or entity is obligated or required to keep track. Even if he was shop hopping at 200 pets there had to have been multiple purchases at one store. Or was he himself just a one stop drop for these shops to rid pets that weren’t moving in inventory

  • Ally October 16, 2020 (12:07 pm)

    will they be shutting down factory farms too ?  they have loads of animals in filthy conditions

  • Izabella Drayven October 16, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    We are looking for our lost Lionhead bunny. Wondering if he ended up here!? We live close to this particular house. How or where do we inquire about possible lost pets that could have ended up in this house? 

    • WSB October 16, 2020 (8:44 pm)

      Definitely contact Seattle Animal Shelter.

  • J.Gathly October 16, 2020 (1:47 pm)

    Why would a person do this?  Is this just cruelty for cruelty’s sake, or were they operating some underground pet store, or eating the animals?  If this has happened before, what were the reasons?

  • Concerned person October 16, 2020 (3:01 pm)

    I know this person and knew that he had a cat living in his truck. I didn’t know that he had so many animals, but he frequented rabbit/cavy shows and I’m sure shows of other species. It is common for people that show animals to have several of each breed/variety/species so I don’t think that 200 is a very shocking number. However, he suffers from mental illness and has recently alienated many people in the rabbit/cavy show world. I hope that he gets help and makes amends to the people he has hurt.

    • Lisa October 16, 2020 (4:51 pm)

      Now it’s another side to the story… thank you for posting. Breeders for profit vs breeders for show… it had not crossed my thoughts. That guy in Tacoma really tainted this story for me, that guy was indignant and sued Tacoma to get his pits back. Didn’t win, but obviously he’s at it again. Ugly individual. Though this man, could benefit from help/counseling/therapy. I hope he gets some.  Surely he’s in pain and likely the security blanket of having a purpose in taking care of so many souls, could be of comfort to someone in a mental health crisis, who doesn’t realize such. Alas, the critters who are able to be adopted, is the light here. As well, their new family members :) 

      • ArborHeightsRes October 16, 2020 (5:08 pm)

        Lisa — It’s great you are feeling so compassionate toward this person.  I hope that compassion extends to the animals that died and suffered in this man’s care.  Sex offenders in many cases also have extreme mental illnesses, yet they still do time. I don’t think there’s a mental illness defense to wanton cruelty, but perhaps you think there should be one.

      • H October 16, 2020 (7:16 pm)

        That sicko should have to spend the rest of his life in prison. They should put him in a tiny cell and leave him without food and water for weeks. See how he likes it. 2 wrongs don’t make a right you say? In this case, I beg to differ. 

  • ArborHeightsRes October 16, 2020 (5:06 pm)

    Concerned Person – What people did he hurt?  What about the animals?  How can he make amends to them?  What about the taxpayer resources that will go into investigating and prosecuting this man and caring for and treating these injured animals (with, apparently, many others dead, and they probably died in agony, based on the neglect charges).  Regardless of his purported illness, he needs to be held accountable. 
    Many people suffer from mental illness and yet they avoid torturing animals.  I’m sure it was no comfort to the speechless, suffering
    animals that he was “ill.” 

    • alki_2008 October 16, 2020 (8:05 pm)

      and they probably died in agony, based on the neglect charges
      Very true point. Animals that die of neglect do not die quickly or peacefully. They are typically in pain and suffering illness for a while before their organ systems finally shut down.  And even the ones that don’t die are usually living in squalor and uncomfortable situations.

  • Barb October 16, 2020 (7:37 pm)

    Not all people who breed rabbits and cavies are in it for money…Not all people who breed neglect and abuse their animals. Obviously, this man got way in over his head . Obviously , it sounds like this man also has some mental issues going on. Could be the poor animals that died may have gotten sick and he , in his mental state, did not know where to turn for help or could not afford to help…Yes he should have found help,if this was the case. We don’t know the full story , or his situation, as it is being investigated…Please do not label all show breeders as irresponsible or neglectful…..there are alot of wonderful rabbit people in the world of showing…Who love their animals, who spend lots of money on their animals….who do not breed them to make a profit.. who spend lots of time with their animals……who normally sell to people in their own show circle……for the purpose of showing and loving.. Show people do not mass produce babies…….Sadly, there are a quite a few bad apples out there….This should have not happened….This man was running a transport….to transport animals to shows and new homes for other people….I hope these animals did not belong to other people…..

  • Amber Bush October 16, 2020 (9:17 pm)

    If there is a small female dog I would like to foster/adopt 

  • KD October 17, 2020 (12:30 am)

    I’m sure I’ll get kickback from my comment, but seriously, besides breeders/breeding for profit, I don’t like the whole concept for ‘show’ and shows. The only ones it pleasures is the humans so they can get their jolly’s off of the praise from the competition. Certainly not for the Animal. Can ‘show’ people just have a pet to love and not be in ‘the biz’ of having their egos stroked? At the most, a hobby, but really, it’s for the human, and I’ve seen what the animals go through (sitting in loud halls and convention rooms in cages all day with loudspeakers and hundreds of humans walking and gawking all day long.. misery for the animal, ego or pride for the human at the animals expense). I guess in doing rescue work, breeders and showers are the opposite of the spectrum in my world. 

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