KATU in Portland did an excellent investigative report last week that found a loophole in Washington law that allows people convicted of animal cruelty to breed dogs.
In 2010, a woman in Toledo, WA named Theresa Hahn was convicted on 10 counts of animal cruelty. Investigators found 157 dogs “living in filthy conditions on a property where Hahn was breeding animals in Toledo.”
The judge in the case sentenced Hahn to 100 days in jail in the case ruled that “she could never permanently care for dogs again.”
But the reporter discovered that Hahn, along with other members of her family, ran a breeding operation called Otter Creek Labradors.
A deputy prosecuting attorney in Lewis County named Eric Eisenberg told the reporter that “a 2013 appeals court lifelong bans can’t be handed down in cases like Hahn’s. They can only last two years, meaning Hahn’s ban is now lifted,” and she is free to breed dogs again.
If Washington or Lewis County required dog breeders to get a license, the state/county could deny one to someone who had been convicted of animal cruelty. But because Washington doesn’t require dog breeders to be licensed, “a person convicted of animal cruelty could legally breed dogs.”
This is just another example of Washington’s weak animal protection laws. Washington also has no regulations for animal sanctuaries or dog rescue groups – it just has generic animal cruelty laws which aren’t that effective. That’s why the state couldn’t shut down the Olympic Animal “Sanctuary” or crack down on the increasing number of shady dog rescue groups.
Hopefully the animal protection in Washington will come together one day to fix our state’s lax animal protection laws. The fact that no one can do anything to prevent people like Theresa Hahn from breeding animals is shameful.