EVERETT — For two weeks, the Everett man had been shooting birds and squirrels out of trees, then putting their mutilated carcasses outside his home, according to a neighbor who called police and provided photos in January 2022.
Everett police served a search warrant weeks later at Blayne Perez’s home in the 2400 block of Columbia Avenue, uncovering even more animal carcasses placed in “various gruesome displays” — dead birds whose wings splayed open across the back of his shed, a crow impaled by a golf club on the roof, songbirds impaled on barbecue skewers. One officer from the state Fish and Wildlife Department described it as “the most disturbing and grotesque scene that he encountered in his entire career.”
Officers removed two air rifles and more than a dozen carcasses from Perez’s property.
Prosecutors with the state Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that Perez had been charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, as well as one count of first-degree malicious mischief for an alleged drive-by shooting of a neighbor’s cat that led to $9,000 in veterinary bills.
“Neighbors described their anguish at having to remove all their bird feeders to avoid Perez turning their yards into a killing field,” according to the charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court by Assistant Attorney General Scott Halloran.
Some of his nearest neighbors included an assisted living facility and a grocery store.
In a 45-minute phone interview with a wildlife officer in early 2022, Perez reportedly said he began shooting the wildlife around Christmas Eve, despite contradicting accounts from his neighbors saying they began seeing him in early January, the charges say.
Perez considered the animals to be as “pests that were (messing) up my (stuff),” though he reportedly used more vulgar language, according to court papers. He also claimed he was using the corpses as a deterrent for any remaining birds, like a scarecrow. However, officers believe he was also using dead animals as bait.
“Perez’s backyard killing and gruesome displays were plainly visible to the surrounding community, as confirmed by multiple witness statements,” according to the charges.
Investigators believe Perez continued to shoot and mutilate wildlife in the months that followed the search warrant.
In April, a dead squirrel impaled in its head to a tree was found at the entrance of Interurban Trail in Everett. Police say it matched the same style as the carcasses in Perez’s backyard.
In August, Perez was reportedly spotted shooting squirrels and dismembering them with a knife in Lowell Riverfront Park. He later told police he thought the 10-minute drive to the park was far enough away to evade the attention of his neighbors, according to the charges.
In September, Perez was arrested for investigation of shooting a couple’s cat, named Hades, in the 6400 block of Lombard Avenue. Police recognized the vehicle description, a white Subaru, as belonging to the suspect in other animal shootings, according to the affidavit. The cat suffered irreversible injuries to the retina that caused its eye to be removed, as well as a fractured jaw and metal fragments that needed to be extracted surgically. The medical bills totaled $9,000.
Perez initially denied shooting the cat, saying he was in Lynnwood at the time, “despite videos placing him at the scene of the shooting in Everett,” according to the charges.
While being put into handcuffs, he reportedly admitted to lying, saying he wanted to “tell the truth.” He then admitted to driving that morning to shoot birds and other wildlife, and that he assumed he was out early enough that no one would catch him. He denied knowingly shooting the cat. The police interview was caught on body cameras.
Perez has a felony history, with three convictions for burglaries and two assaults, making it illegal for him to own a gun. If convicted of animal cruelty, he would be banned from owning or living with animals.
An arraignment hearing is set for March 27.
The attorney general’s Environmental Protection Division is handling the case. No defense attorney is listed for Perez in court documents.
In court papers, prosecutors did not object to Perez remaining out of custody, with the condition he stay away from any animals while the case is pending.
Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @mayatizon.
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