Cruelty to puppies alleged in Stanwood

STANWOOD — Two husky puppies were found dead among five other dogs in a kennel littered with feces, and now the dog’s owner could face animal cruelty charges, police said Thursday.

Police believe the 8- to 9-week-old puppies likely starved to death. Three other puppies survived, but were severely dehydrated and malnourished, weighing only 2 pounds when rescued, Stanwood Police Chief David Bales said.

A healthy husky puppy of that age should weigh about 7 pounds. Two adult dogs also were malnourished.

The owner, a Stanwood woman, 57, said the dogs’ care was her estranged husband’s responsibility. He no longer lives at the home, and earlier this week he called The Herald, urging a story.

Stanwood police and officers with Snohomish County Animal Control launched an investigation in mid-February after receiving a complaint that a litter of puppies was being neglected.

They found the dogs in a fenced-in backyard kennel.

“The floor of the kennel was completely covered in feces and the dogs were very dirty. There were bowls to hold water and food but there was nothing in them,” Bales said.

A small amount of water was in a bucket, but it was too tall for the puppies to reach for a drink, he added.

Officers seized the dogs and took them to the Everett Animal Shelter. The puppies were put in foster care to be nursed back to health and the two adult dogs were put up for adoption, he said. As of late February, the dogs were doing well, Bales said.

The woman could face animal cruelty charges, the chief said.

Bales declined to identify the woman or the location where the dogs were discovered.

“Because these types of cases tend to be very emotional we don’t want to subject this woman to harassment by identifying her,” he added.

A Monroe family recently became the target of death threats and worldwide cyber-harassment after a video surfaced on the Internet that some suggested depicted their relative, a U.S. Marine, tossing a puppy off a cliff.

The internet-fueled reaction included threats to the man’s family, a relative’s employer and the city of Monroe. The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating the videotaped incident.

Stanwood police last week forwarded their puppy-neglect investigation to Snohomish County prosecutors for possible charges.

The Stanwood woman reportedly told police she didn’t have the money to properly care for the dogs and attempted to find someone to take them, Bales said. She also allegedly told police she believed the dogs were her estranged husband’s responsibility, and she’d asked him to take the dogs on several occasions.

Officers investigated her claim but found reasons to doubt her story, Bales said.

Police found dog food at the woman’s house, he said. She also had owned the adult dogs for years and had cared for several previous litters, he said.

Police spoke with the woman’s estranged husband and learned that he hadn’t lived at the house since before the puppies were born and traveled extensively for work, Bales said. Because the man no longer lived at the house, police don’t believe he was responsible for the dogs, the chief said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

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