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Asking for Help in Washington State
Hello - We are looking for someone to help rescue these animals, so I have copied a portion of a letter I wrote and part of the report from the humane society in order to give you some perspective on the situation. The people from the Humane Society have been wonderful and they need help getting authority.

Animal control does not exist in Stevens County, Washington, so animal rights do not exist. When neighbors moved in across the street last fall with 3 dogs (one very thin male, one very thin female with 3 pups, and one very skinny pregnant female) and a pony that was tied to a tree without ample food, water or shelter for days, the trouble began. Our acreage is fenced for our horse, and we fenced a large yard for our dogs to enjoy. Soon our dog and cat food was being ransacked by the starving neighbor dogs. Keeping the food on a six foot high shelf did not prevent the dogs from getting into it, and they were hungry enough that they even ate the horse oats. The cats finally had to retreat to the crawlspace under our house for safety.

We called the Sheriffs office to file a complaint about the problem and we were told that if we did not want the dogs on our property it was our responsibility to keep them out (unreasonable), or we could shoot them (inhumane). Dogs wild with hunger are very resourceful, and 5 fenced acres is a lot of fencing to dog proof . The situation got worse with the neighbor dogs fighting for food, and they finally ended up chasing our horse through the fence causing her a badly cut leg. Even though it was quite evident that the dogs were behaving in this manner because they were not being fed and cared for properly, the Sheriffs department felt no need to interfere on behalf of these animals. There is now another dog across the street and the other neighbors little pom dog was recently attacked by all four of the dogs and suffered numerous bites - costing the owner of the victim pom over $400.

When I spoke with Stevens County Commissioner Tony, I was told that the county did not want the "bureaucracy" of an animal control officer. Really - that is the lamest remark I have ever heard. These dogs are wonderful pets that have been neglected and I can�t shoot an animal because an irresponsible owner will not take care of them. We discovered that feeding the dogs calmed them down and it became our only solution to keep them from fighting and destroying our property.

When the animal caretakers from the Humane Society came in to check the situation across the street, they observed the people living mostly hidden in the trees on the lot on the way in had numerous dogs that were chained to trees without shelter to protect them from the cold, bitter winter. They investigated the situation and found these people had several sheep, goats, ducks, and 17 dogs - 11 of them chained on short chains that were starting to grow into their skin - they were extremely skinny, and they were cold and wet from being chained out in the harsh weather with no shelter. The Humane Society gave them new soft nylon collars, dog houses, and eventually convinced them to give up one of the old dogs that was sick and skinny, but they still need the Sheriffs office to take action so the dogs can be saved. There was a happy ending for that one old dog, but the others are chained and abused so they can be used for puppy production - what despicable behavior! This is unmistakable animal cruelty - any decent law enforcement would acknowledge the abuse and take action, but still the Stevens County Sheriffs office won�t do anything. This situation is repulsive, and the animals are in a critical situation. Those loathsome people live in tents and trailers on that lot with no water, no sewer/septic, and the animals are suffering - the dogs are close enough to the road that they are constantly being heavily dusted by passing cars.

Below is the info from the Humane Society's Report - - - - -
Name of owner(s): Frank Setness, John, Matt, Mary and Lynn
Address (location if unknown): 7636 Amy Lane Way, Ford, WA 99013
- If heading north on hwy 291, past mile marker 30.
Ponderosa Estates
- On the right side of Amy Lane (approximately 1 block off Hwy 291)
Number of animals and species left on property incl. photos of any of those animals:
- 17 dogs (11 outside �� 8 Shelties, 1 Pomeranian, 1 old Setter/Spaniel mix, 1 Husky mix ) (6 ��""Special"" Shelties inside small trailer (20-30 ft)
- 10+ Cats living in 5��x3�� cage (similar to a chicken coop)
- Multiple rabbits (approximately 18-20) 2 per 2��x1�� cages on the ground
- 1 goat (chained), 1 potbelly pig, 4 to 5 sheep
- Multiple ducks, geese and chickens in a 10��x10�� fenced area
- 1 dove in a small bird cage outside
- At least one other bird (cockatiel or similar) inside trailer.
Animals removed from property; when, where to and why
- 1 dog �� 18month male Sheltie, January 13th 2008, relinquished to Spokane Humane Society upon request by us, ""Looking for a home for him, too tall."" Adopted.
- 4 cats �� 2 male/2 female, January 26th, 2008, relinquished to Spokane Humane Society upon request by us due to living conditions, ""Owners not really taken with them."" 1 adopted, 3 euthanized unhealthy/untreatable.

1. Friday, November 30th, 2007

�� Diane and Judy go to Steven's County to pick up 6 puppies from Karen ��s. Previously, when Karen contacted the sheriff for help with the puppies, they sheriff stated to Karen that she could let them starve or shoot them. Refer to letter from Karen dated April 24th.
�� Karen called the SHS for assistance. Karen had been helping care for the puppies for several weeks.
The puppies came from Karen's neighbors across the road (Lisa and Tim). They did not take responsibility for the puppies (feeding or providing adequate shelter). The puppies were probably those of Precious or could have been some of Wilma's (both female dogs had litters at the same time). There were 6 pups at Karen's house, but she had seen seven before they migrated over to Karen's - never saw the 7th one when the pups started coming over.
�� It is not clear if the mother had brought them there or if they had arrived on their own in search of food. There was a black male lab mix unaltered (Samson), who ran the neighborhood, helped with the puppy round up.
�� Karen talked to Diane and Judy about her frustration of animals not being cared for in the area and no one of authority in Steven's County would respond to her concerns.
�� A neighbor saw the Humane Society logo on the truck and stopped Diane and Judy to ask when they were going to get the ""squatters animals.""
�� When Diane and Judy drove past the property off Amy Lane where these individuals were living, they observed several people beside a campfire. They saw multiple dogs and a pony, all tied to trees with no shelter which could be observed from the road. The weather was very cold.

2. Sunday, January 6th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures 18 �� 35 degrees, snowing hard, and windy.
�� Diane, Dave, Judy, Sue, and Barb drove to Stevens County to deliver 12 donated dog houses, straw (2 bails), hay (1 bail), dog food (at least 120 pounds), etc. and case of hams for the people.
�� Dave and Diane approached to see if they there interested in some ""help"".
�� Met Frank and Family (Father �� Frank, 2 grown sons �� John and Matt/mentally challenged), and 2 grown daughters (Mary and Lynn/mentally challenged).
�� Frank and Family accepted donations and said they would put up houses later that day. They said they had moved up to Stevens County in October after leaving or losing their home (?) in Idaho and had previously lived in Oregon. They mentioned they had to leave their dogs houses at the old place.
�� Walked part of the property and upon inspection found:
- 17 dogs (11 outside �� 8 Shelties, 1 Pomeranian, 1 old Setter/Spaniel mix, 1 Husky mix �� ALL were on very short 2�� to 3��) chains, chained to trees/tires or truck bumpers. Some only had a ""small piece of plywood to serve as shelter"". One dog had an upside down couch to get under, and some dogs had no shelter at all.
- All of the dogs were extremely thin, matted, dirty, wet, and RAVENOUS when offered treats.
- The Shelties were extremely shy, under socialized, leery and mostly not approachable at all.
- Taffy (Husky mix), Stray (Setter/Spaniel mix) and ""Pom"" were more social.
- Water bowls were evident but some were tipped over.
- ""Pom"" was tied to the truck bumper and could not reach his ""small crate"" or ""under the truck"" for shelter.
- All of the outside dogs were chained with ""choke chain"" collars secured very tight to prevent escape. There was no room to get a fingernail let alone a finger in between the collar and the animal's neck. Most of the dogs had sores from partially embedded collars.
- (6 ��""Special"" Shelties inside small trailer (20-30 ft) living with people �� ""We keep them warm and they keep us warm."" We could hear them barking but never saw the condition of the dogs.) NOTE: to the date of this writing, we still have not seen them.
- 10+ Cats living in 5��x3�� cage (similar to a chicken coop) on the bare ground, covered by a tarp. Cats were also RAVENOUS and clawing to get at treats.
- Multiple rabbits (approximately 18-20) 2 per 2��x1�� cages on the ground, tarp as shelter.
- 1 goat (chained), 1 potbelly pig, 4 to 5 sheep in fenced area with a lean-to shelter. There was no hay or food visible and it appeared they were eating minimal straw on the ground.
- Multiple ducks, geese and chickens in a 10��x10�� fenced area with no shelter (There may have been a possible tarp tied to trees as a roof).
- 1 dove in a small bird cage outside on the ground with tarp over it.
- At least one other bird (cockatiel or similar) inside trailer.
�� Walking around the property was dangerous because of the ice and snow. The ground was frozen and all puddles were sheets of ice covered with 4"" to 5"" of snow.

- Removed and replaced all of the collars on the dogs with nylon collars. Most of the ""choke chains"" had to be cut off with pliers and tore mats of connected hair in the process. Many of the choke chains showed signs of being broken previously (from the dogs twirling or spinning on the short chain). They had been repaired with wire and put back on. Since most of the animals were so unapproachable, we had the family members help change out all of the collars that we had brought up with us. The animals seemed ""OK"" with the adult children.
- NOTE: One of the Shelties (Dan) went completely catatonic when he was handled to replace the collar �� he also has a growth on his eyelid.
- Dave left his business card and let them know we would be back to see how they were doing.

- When Dave offered assistance for medical/spay/neuter for the animals, Frank and Family informed us that all of the animals but 2 dogs were already fixed.
- When asked about feeding the dogs, the owners reported going to Yoke's (grocery store) to get meat/fat scraps which were going to be disposed of. They would boil the fat scraps with rice or oatmeal for animal food. They said since there was lots of good meat with the fat, they could also feed the family for a few days.
- The owners believe all of the animals were in good ""health and condition"" and if they appeared somewhat skinny, ""they probably needed a GOOD WORMING"" with Piperazine worming medicine by Durvet (able to use on all of the animals). We got the impression they wormed often and some of the dogs (especially Stray) became sick after worming (probably given on an empty stomach).
- The reason for so many dogs was they ""used"" to breed the Shelties in Oregon and then the market dried up. So they stopped breeding and they just couldn't part with them.
- They were looking for a home for ""No Name"", the youngest of the Shelties, whose ""sale"" fell through because he was too tall/big.
- Our observation was that the people's living conditions were not much better than that of the animals.
Notified on 1/9 or 1/10 that the doghouses, straw/hay, etc. were still located in the same location we left them in on 1/6 and had not been moved or assembled.

1. Sunday, January 13th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures 23 �� 36 degrees, over 3"" of snow.
�� Dave, Judy and Barb returned to follow up on situation and to provide assistance to put up the doghouses (if needed) and determine if they would let any dogs go. The forecast was scheduled to dip into the teens and single digits the following week and owners were not providing adequate shelter. We had extreme concern for the animals surviving the cold weather.
�� Provided cat food for the starving cats.
�� Upon arrival noted that the doghouses were up and the dogs were inside (with minimal straw).
�� Dogs had water, no sign of food. Still very thin.
�� No hay or food was evident for other animals.
�� When checking the condition of the dogs, we learned (by physically ""copping a feel"") that none of the animals were fixed/altered.
�� When questioned about Dave's offer to spay and neuter �� the response was ""the kids don't know if they are going to start breeding again.""
�� Upon our request, the owners relinquished ""No Name"" (Sheltie) as they ""weren't too attached to him.""


- Checked condition of all animals.
- Provided cat food for the starving cats.
- Took ""No Name""(18 month Sheltie we named ""Yogi"") to the SHS for immediate evaluation and care. Found he was absolutely starving when offered food, shy and under socialized. He was emaciated, had frost bitten paws and ears (or fly bites), visible bloody sores around his neck from the ""choke chain"", his fur was yellow with urine and feces, and he was damp and cold.

- Judy inquired about relinquishing ""Stray"" the old dog �� but John was very hesitant, as it was his dog. Stray was located ""on the back 40"" with Dan (Sheltie) to guard the goat, sheep, etc. Said he would have to think about it. Judy even offered money.
- Due to Yogi's emaciated condition and compromised health, he developed kennel cough and was unable to be neutered for at least 3 weeks in order to gain the necessary weight for the surgery to be safe.
- Pamela at the SHS also noted lots of old scabs across his back between his shoulder blades. Even after 4 bathes could not get the scabs out of his hair. She was unsure of what caused them.
- Yogi had to be carried out of the kennel to for a walk and to the bathroom. He would absolutely crumble from shyness. (This boy had probably never been off his chain in his entire life and had to learn to run and trust people.
- He was bathed and still showed signs of blood stained neck, raw feet, etc.
- See additional notes from SHS employees and supporting SHS documentation.
Stopped by Lisa and Tim's to provide dog food for their dogs (Precious, Wilma, and Ducky) across the road from Karen's to help keep the dogs from becoming aggressive and off of Frank and Family's property. We were also asked to check on the condition of the horse as it had been reported to be very thin.
January 24th - Conversation with Inga for direction.

2. Saturday, January 26th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures ��4 to 25 degrees, 6+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Judy, Sue and Barb returned to check on situation and discuss concerns / laws, etc. per Inga's direction.
�� Took up donated dog food, cat food, bird food and a bag of ""all purpose livestock feed"".
�� Dogs were all using doghouses, still had on the collars we replaced, and starting to put on ""a little"" weight.
�� Due to the extreme weather conditions, the water bowls were frozen. We were told they had just returned from town, had run out of propane and were in the process of melting water in the trailer.
�� We discussed with Frank the effort they were making, but our observation was they were obviously beyond their means, and we cared and had concern for him and his family and their animals. We stated we were very willing to continue to help, but we would need to see them take responsibility and make substantial improvement in the care and welfare of the animals, including spay and neuter. We stated we respected their position and hoped they respect ours (as volunteers and representatives of the SHS). We told them that the HSUS had been already notified and were aware we were working with them on the situation. Need commitment to show continual improvement with existing animals, relinquish ""x"" many animals, agree to no more animals, and demonstrate care of family and animals alike. In order to keep them from a visit from the Sheriff, we reiterated WA State laws (e.g. 2nd degree cruelty, confining animals in an unsafe manner, providing adequate food/water, shelter, sanitation, and vet care �� weight of animals and the associated risks.)
�� Reinforced what the sheriff's actions would be �� corrective action, seizure of animals and possible prosecution.
�� Frank was aware that Stevens County does not have dog ordinances but he was not aware that there was WA laws that superseded ordinances. In turn, we will continue to monitor the animals and their condition, and they would work with us instead of the sheriff.
�� After discussing the current horrible living conditions of the cats and how we could get to a mutual decision, John called a family meeting and agreed to relinquish 4 cats ""that they were not taken with"".
�� Once more they refused to relinquish any of the dogs or agree to get any spayed or neutered. Judy tried again to get ""Stray.""
�� Frank signed our agreement to relinquish the cats and ""No Name"" from the previous visit and reviewed the other conditions listed (see attached).
�� They agreed to get ""rabbits"" off the ground ""as soon as the cages weren't frozen to the ground anymore."" NOTE: Rabbits are used for breeding and also food.

�� Took 4 relinquished cats to the SHS.

�� Barb observed at one point after arrival that Frank passed an object (possible weapon) to Mary. After realizing we were not there to confiscate the animals, Mary took object to the trailer.
Lisa and Tim:
- Picked up Precious for spay (in heat, being mounted by Ducky and Samson at Karen's).
- Informed Lisa we were taking her in since she was in heat. Lisa wanted to know why we were ""picking on them"" and what happened to Precious�� puppies and why the neighbors were complaining about the care of their dogs and horse.
- Precious was spayed and had a friable uterus and a blood disorder �� wouldn't clot. She had to stay at SHS for an extra week to recover since we couldn't rely on her owner to monitor her situation.
- Left messages for Lisa daily after spay regarding her condition (over 1 week). No return phone calls for over a week (no cell range or way to return call).
- When asked Tim if we could get Ducky neutered, he responded ""why would I want to do that if you are spaying all of the females?""

1. Saturday, February 9th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures 25 �� 36 degrees, 7+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Judy and Barb returned to Stevens County to return Precious to Lisa/Tim and check in with Frank and Family.
�� Took dog food, cat food and hay to provide ""we'll give you this if you give us that)"" philosophy with Frank.
�� Checked on condition of their animals.
�� One cat had really goopy eyes and seemed extremely lethargic. Asked Frank to release or relinquish for medical care and was told ""the cat is fine, it happens all the time and then gets better. Let's see when you come back next weekend.""
�� The other cats appeared more content and mellow and not scratching wildly to get treats, etc. (Maybe not so much competition without the other 4 to get food or displaying symptoms of being ill?)
�� Stray put on some weight �� the others are better but still very, very thin (except for Taffy).
�� Again due to weather �� water bowls were tipped and / or frozen.
Lisa and Tim:
Returned Precious- reviewed all medical follow up and necessary care with Lisa. Advised Lisa to keep her in doors for a couple of days �� less than 3 hours later she was out and at Karen's.
Picked up Wilma for spay.
Lenette and Aaron:
Pick up Peanut and Samson for neuter.

2. Saturday, February 24th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures 26 �� 41 degrees, 3+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Judy and I stopped in to check on condition of the animals at Frank and Family.
�� Matt and Lynn were only ones home �� walked the property and checked on the animals.
�� Discussed reasons to spay/neuter Taffy, Stray, and the ""Pom"", values and integrity of helping vs. supporting ""their breeding"".
�� Matt said ""his sister was looking for a mate for the ""Pom"". The comment came ""innocently"" but implied the ""breeding"" was going to start again.
�� Took donated food up but did not leave any food or donated product on this trip.
�� Rabbits were on a table or such and off the ground.
�� Animals still thin but the ones we could feel, including Stray, were putting on a little more much needed weight (they still have a long way to go).
�� The weather was warming up so the snow was melting and the animals were standing in 1+ inches of water in places, soaking wet and standing in feces. There was very little straw left for bedding in the doghouses.
�� The cat with goopy eyes was not there, down to 5 (even though Lynn said the cat was there and fine). No litter boxes, shared food dish (no food) and water bowl (on all visits).
�� There was also some sort of bones in the cage (possibly chicken bones for the cats to eat?).
Lisa and Tim:
Provided Lisa with the status of Wilma (vet again noted friable uterus probably due to multiple litters, and ears loaded with cheat grass).
Again no return calls after messages left daily to Lisa and her sister.
Lenette and Aaron:
Returned Peanut (Lenette and Aaron were not home, met by Elizabeth's father to receive dog and paperwork). (Samson had kennel cough and could not return home.)

3. Saturday, March 1st, 2008

�� Weather: Temperatures 28-39 degrees, 2+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Sue and Barb �� Trip up was to return Peanut and Samson.
�� Did not stop at Frank and Family, drove by and waved.
�� Noted that Dan and Stray were inside doghouses. Couldn't tell if there was food or water through the trees.

Lisa and Tim:
Returned Wilma (no one home, had to leave meds/etc. with Karen) and message for Lisa to call regarding care �� very thin, friable uterus, and cheat grass in ears (had to order special surgical instrument to get it out).
Again no return phone calls after multiple messages left on cell and to sister.
Lenette and Aaron:
Returned Samson. Discussed quality of food (Old Roy) and dogs condition, agreed to feed canned and better quality food to get some weight on the boys (Peanut was close to being emaciated.)
NOTE: Found out on March 27th that 3 of the 4 cats taken to the SHS earlier were not getting better and tested positive for leukemia and were euthanized. One had been adopted.

4. Saturday, March 29th, 2008

�� WEATHER: Temperatures 26 �� 37 degrees, 6+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Sue and Barb �� Trip to pick up remaining ""agreements"" to spay/neuter.
�� Did not stop at Frank and Family's.
Picked up the following:
�� 2 cats
�� Ducky
- Shaggie
Spay/Neuter for animals at Petsavers / Overnight at Spokane Humane Society
All signed necessary paperwork and waivers.

5. Sunday, March 30th, 2008

�� WEATHER: 21 �� 37 degrees, 2+ inches of snow, windy.
�� Judy and Barb - �� Trip to return spay/neuters listed above.
�� 2 cats
�� Ducky
- Shaggie
NOTE: Horse at Lisa and Tim's very thin! See pictures.
�� Checked in with Frank and Family.
�� Animals seem to be holding weight.
�� Discussed the 4 relinquished and that they had tested positive for feline leukemia. Chances are others are infected. Frank informed us that all of the cats were fine.
�� Adult children very quiet and non-conversational today.
�� Frank concerned with neighbors�� dogs running loose on his property and getting in his garbage and what he could do about it - We directed him to call the sheriff.
�� Frank also mentioned that they would be moving to the other side of the river in Lincoln County to get away from roaming dogs, etc.
�� Checked on remaining cats �� only could see 3 (2 more gone?).
�� Provided copy of article on feline luekemia and recommended no more cats given ""current living conditions"".
�� Provided copy of article on ""dangers of tethering dogs"". Frank said he didn't like it but they couldn't afford a fence.
�� Also provided them with a brochure from PetSavers.
�� Observation �� it seemed like one of the outside Shelties was not there (water bowl and feces) but no dog, chain, or house ��.. Recall them mentioning on a previous visit that one of the males had gotten loose and nailed her so she would be having puppies��.

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