WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC, DISTURBING PICTURES AND LANGUAGE ABOUT A DOG THAT EXPERIENCED SEVERE ABUSE AND NEGLECT.
Yesterday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Olivia Zhou from the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office filed animal cruelty charges against two Bucoda, WA men who allegedly abused and killed an old dog named Wolfy.
Robert Leatherman, who was Wolfy’s owner, was charged with first degree animal cruelty for allegedly starving, dehydrating, or suffocating an animal and causing “substantial and unjustifiable physical pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering.”
Jeffery Gavin, the man who shot and killed Wolfy, was charged with second degree animal cruelty for “knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflict unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.”
Both men were ordered to appear in Thurston County Superior Court on Tuesday, May 5 at 10 AM for arraignment.
This sad story started last October when a woman driving through Bucoda saw “an emaciated dog sitting near the front door of the local store.” She said the dog was “missing most of its hair and had an open sore on its back and appeared to be in ill health.”
She went to Bucoda City Hall to report what she had seen, but the animal control officer wasn’t there due to a family emergency. While she was there, someone told her that “the city didn’t have the authority to tell another person how to manage their property.”
Although Washington law considers animals property, it does not allow anyone to treat their animals cruelly or inhumanely. But as you’ll see later, Bucoda officials don’t appear to give a damn about Washington’s animal cruelty laws.
After getting no help at Bucoda City Hall, the woman took the picture of Wolfy posted it on the Lost & Found Pets Wa State Facebook page with the following caption:
“I found this dog [wandering] the streets of Bucoda today….. I called animal control who put me in contact with the ‘city of Bucoda’. I drove over to city hall to ask for the dog to be taken to the animal contol office for obvious reasons but to list…..1. It couldn’t walk 2. It had lost 1/2 its hair 3. It had bugs and [expletive] all over it and 4. It stunk worse than any thing I had ever smelt!
The man from city hall looked at me and said “ya that dog lives down the road nonchalantly.” I said, well someone needs to intervene this is animal cruelty! He proceeded to say “no the dog is his property, and we don’t tell people how to take care of their animals”…… SHOCKED I personally will not stop until the media hears of this horrible injustice and the City of Bucoda is shamed!”
Not long after that, Leatherman allegedly asked Gavin to kill Wolfy, presumably because he learned that officials had been alerted about Wolfie’s condition.
Leatherman initially told a Deputy from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office that he asked someone named Andy Brown to kill Wolfy, but when he couldn’t provide information about him, he admitted he asked Gavin to “take Wolfy and put him down.” He also admitted that Wolfy was “in horrible condition” and that friends had told him that Wolfy “need to be put to sleep.”
I guess he didn’t care about Wolfy’s “horrible condition” until someone complained to animal control about it.
But he didn’t care enough to have him put down humanely. Instead, Gavin shot the dog 3 times in the back of the head and dumped him in a hole.
Unfortunately, Wolfy’s suffering was still not over. The veterinarian who did Wolfy’s necropsy said the dog did not die instantaneously after Gavin shot him and that Wolfie “likely suffered painfully in death.”
He also reported that in his professional opinion “this patient suffered tremendously from chronic severe skin, oral, joint, and ear disease as well as neglect and starvation in life.”
Here are some of the specifics from the necropsy report about Wolfy’s condition when he was killed:
- The hair on the bottom half of his body was gone and much of the exposed skin was black and cracked, including the skin on his penis and testicles.
- Much of his skin had lesions and maggots.
- He had open lesions at the base of his tail and on his anus, which also had 2 raised, exposed tumors.
- He had no abdominal fat and only rocks and corn kernels in his stomach because he was starved.
- He had been shot at least once before
One of the most infuriating things the vet wrote in his report was that none of the conditions were life-
threatening and “could have been addressed by routine veterinary care, grooming, and an adequate diet.”
In addition to this horrific abuse and suffering Wolfy endured, dozens of people knew about it.
Most people who abuse animals do keep them hidden from the public, but Wolfy’s case, his condition was on display for the public to see for years.
Bucoda Mayor Alan Carr admitted this when he told the Centralia Chronicle that “the dog was a normal sight in town, having been in the area for six to eight years.”
You’d think that SOMEONE would have alerted officials about Wolfie’s condition during that time.
Or taken Wolfie to a veterinarian.
OR AT LEAST GIVEN HIM SOME SCRAPS OF FOOD SO HE DIDN’T HAVE TO EAT ROCKS.
In my opinion, the people who saw this abused dog every day for years and did nothing are just as guilty as the men accused of animal cruelty. How could they be so heartless?
Not surprisingly, the man who they elected Mayor is just as bad as his constituents.
When the officer who filed the report about Wolfy’s asked Bucoda Mayor Alan Carr if he had noticed “anything medically wrong the dog,” he responded by saying, “no, I just saw him last week and he looked fine. old, but fine.”
Really Mayor Carr? Does this dog look fine to you?
Are you a cruel, heartless bastard or just an idiot? Or both?
Sorry for the language but revisiting the details of this story again make me furious. This poor dog suffered for years in clear view and not one person in Bucoda did anything about it.
Not. One. Person.
It was a stranger driving through town who, after taking one look at Wolfy, reported his condition to city officials and spread the word on social media when they told her the city didn’t have the authority to tell another person how to manage their property.
If not for her, Wolfy would still be suffering.
I do want to recognize the officials that DID do their jobs. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and Joint Animal Services did an excellent job of investigating what happened to Wolfy and building a strong case for the Thurston County Prosecutor’s which should also be commended for filing first degree animal cruelty charges against Wolfy’s owner.
Hopefully he will get the maximum penalty – five years in prison and a fine of ten thousand dollars – for what he did to Wolfy. I just hope that he isn’t able to make a deal to plead guilty in order to get a a lesser charge.
And Wolfy, I’m sorry for the pain and suffering you had to endure and for the people who did nothing to help you. You deserved a much better life.
I’m glad you’re now in a place where no one can hurt you anymore.
Run free, Wolfy.