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PROSECUTOR’S DECISION IN DOG SHOOTING SENDS INHUMANE MESSAGE

WENATCHEE, WA- On the evening of June 5, 2019 a dog was brought to Wenatchee Valley Animal Care and Control (ACC) by a passerby who found the dog, shot three times, on the side of the road near Beehive and Mission Ridge. It was later discovered that the owner of the dog named “Louie” was the person who shot the dog and left him for dead. The case was originally investigated by Wenatchee Police Department and consequently was turned over to Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office for review. Louie’s owner is an employee of Chelan County which created a conflict for the Chelan County Prosecutor. In July, due to the conflict of interest, the Chelan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office appointed Arian Noma, Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney as Special Prosecutor to review the case for criminal charges.

Noma concluded his review of the case on September 6, 2019 stating this “This office does not recommend the filing of criminal charges and will not file criminal charges.” In his conclusion, Noma wrote “The facts of this case do not support probable cause to find that Mr. Steinbrech committed animal cruelty in the first or second degree.  Although archaic to some, it is still common the euthanize pets and livestock even by firearm.  Even if there were facts enough to support the probable cause, the State could not meet its burden under RCW 9.94A.411.”

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Dawn Davies, Executive Director of Wenatchee Valley Humane Society (WVHS) and ACC is deeply concerned by these statements. “This conclusion sends a very dangerous message,” Davies warns. “The outcry from the public reassures me that we live in a more humane society where shooting a pet is not common and more importantly, it is not acceptable nor is it necessary.”

Davies wants to remind the community that WVHS is a resource center for pets and people, offering programs for behavior, surrender and when necessary, euthanasia. “Although WVHS prides itself on its 97% success rate with dogs, there are times euthanization is necessary. A 97% success rate means that 3% of nearly 5,000 animals that come to the shelter each year are euthanized due to untreatable aggression, behavior, illness or injury.”

Regarding Louie’s case, Davies notes “This gruesome act did not need to happen. I can’t imagine shooting a dog in the head three times, not checking for a heartbeat, leaving it suffering on the side of the road, while I went to get a shovel, then coming back to find it gone.”

While in the custody of WVHS and ACC, “Louie” (also known as ‘Cane’) received extensive treatment and care at Cascade Veterinarian.  X-rays showed three .40 caliber bullets in his skull.  Once “Louie” was stabilized from the trauma, the bullets were removed.  He is now living in medical foster care with another dog and people who enjoy him.

Davies says his foster family aren’t the only ones who care for him. “Our community rallied together after hearing about “Louie.” They showed their objection to the shooting and their compassion by donating funds to cover medical costs which were nearly $5,000. That is a lot of money for something that could have been avoided if the owner had simply reached out to Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and asked for help.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance with a pet, help is available in many different forms. Contact WVHS or ACC by calling 509-662-9577, or visiting them at 1474 S. Wenatchee Ave., in Wenatchee for more information.

About WVHS
Founded in 1967, the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to serve Chelan and Douglas Counties through education, protection and pet adoptions. WVHS cares for displaced pets, rescues injured and lost animals, investigates animal cruelties, and finds homes for orphaned animals. WVHS engages in a Pets for Life philosophy by providing low cost spay/neuter programs, periodic vaccination clinics, and hosting pet food assistance banks to income-qualified residents throughout its community. By caring for pets and the people who love them, WVHS is creating a humane society in the Wenatchee Valley. If you would like to volunteer, donate, or more information on how you can help, visit wenatcheehumane.org, email wvhs@wenatcheehumane.org or call (509) 662-9577.

About ACC
Wenatchee Valley Animal Care and Control (ACC) is a separate LLC of Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and is a government contracted agency.  Its mission is to help protect the safety and well-being of the citizens and animals of our jurisdictions through compassion, education and law enforcement. ACC is contracted to provide services for the Cities of Cashmere, Chelan, East Wenatchee, Entiat, Rock Island, Wenatchee, the Town of Waterville and Chelan & Douglas Counties.

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