MANSFIELD — An Everett woman has been charged with first- and second-degree animal cruelty after law enforcement and animal control officials say they found several starving dogs and cats on a remote property near Mansfield.
The Douglas County prosecutor’s office charged Kathleen C. Walls, 49, on Nov. 10.
Authorities drove to the isolated property Oct. 22 to serve a search warrant on the property owner, who is not Walls, and knew several dogs and cats were on the property.
A case report submitted by officer Kerry Bayliss with the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society said the group included herself, Humane Society Sgt. Jody White, two Douglas County deputies and a Department of Social and Health Services employee.
Bayliss’ report said the property owner’s four dogs were in relatively good health, though one of the dogs had an eye infection.
They also found Walls’ two caged dogs, emaciated and thin, and three cat kennels containing a total of five cats, one of which was dead and wrapped in a sheet. Bayliss’ report said all of the pens and kennels were covered with urine and feces and none of the animals had access to food or water.
All the animals — belonging to Walls and the property owner — were confiscated.
Bayliss’ report said the dead cat was sent to a Wenatchee veterinarian for a necropsy, and the vet said the cat had “consumed its own muscle mass in an attempt to remain alive before succumbing to death via starvation and dehydration.”
The property owner told Bayliss that Walls in September had asked if it was OK to move her trailer to his property, where she and her son could live, and he agreed.
Walls told The World on Monday that she went back to Everett to “pick up another load of stuff” on Oct. 2, and that she was sending money to her son “and texting him” while she was gone so that he could buy food for the animals.
“They had food and water when I left,” she said, adding that she was still in Everett on Oct. 22 when she learned that officials had “taken custody of my kid and animals.” Walls’ 14-year-old son was placed in protective custody the same day the animals were confiscated.
Bayliss’ report said the property owner and Walls’ son went to the Mansfield property Sept. 28, which is when the property owner first learned that Walls had brought animals to the property and that they were “starving.”
The property owner also told Bayliss he couldn’t go near the cats because he was allergic and the boy was responsible for taking care of all of his own animals.
In Bayliss’ report, she wrote that the DSHS employee had contacted her and said Walls’ son told her that he would feed bread to the dogs when he could, and also shared whatever food he had with the cats, often tuna with Tabasco sauce.
White told The World on Monday that all of the animals are doing well, and “they are all really sweet animals.”
A preliminary hearing for Walls is set for Monday.