Snohomish County Animal Control Services charged Kathryn St. Clare $18,138.42 after they unlawfully killed all of her rescue cats. Under a warrant, they seized and impounded 111 cats from her on the morning of Friday, July 11, 2014 at about 9:40 AM.
In clear violation of the laws of Washington State, Snohomish County Animal Control killed 110 of the cats by 6:30 pm, seven hours later. The remaining cat was killed the next day after being left in a trailer without food and water overnight.
Kathryn St. Clare did not in any way release or sign over ownership of her cats to Animal Control. At the time they were killed by Animal Control she owned the cats. There has to a voluntary transfer of ownership or a court order before Animal Services are deemed to own seized cats.
“I never surrendered them, either verbally or in writing. It never came up in conversation……I NEVER SIGNED ANY DOCUMENTS THAT MORNING. Obviously the AC officer didn’t produce any document with my sig on it. I WAS NEVER ASKED TO. I JUST HAD PAPERWORK SHOVED IN MY FACE.”
The warrant of seizure did not authorize Animal Control to kill the cats unless certain procedures were followed and they were not followed. The cats were killed for the sake of expediency and for no other reason. In other words the authorities lacked the money and resources to follow Washington State law properly.
The Animal Control officer in charge on that day was Officer Rench. Officer Rench swore an affidavit in which she said that she had served a notice of removal of animals on Kathryn St. Clare and that the notice was signed by her. According to Kathryn St. Clare this is a lie and she did not sign any documents. Accordingly, and on the face of it, Officer Rench has committed perjury which is a serious crime which on conviction invariably results in a prison sentence (this is an allegation until proven in court).
On the day that the cats were seized they were taken in a large trailer in which they were kept by Kathryn St. Clare to Everett Animal Shelter. The normal procedure under the laws of the state would be to check the cats’ health and decide how to deal with them. Under the law Animal Services had the right to euthanize severely injured, diseased, or suffering animals before a 15 day waiting period had elapsed.
However, three of the cats were tested for their health and found to be suffering from FeLV and FIV (FeLV positive cats are adoptable). A veterinarian, Dr Lisa Thompson, testified that all the cats were ‘savable’. Many could have been fostered or held in shelters and been adopted.
It would seem that Animal Control decided on checking three cats to kill all the animals immediately without even taking them into the shelter. It was production line killing and done with such haste that Kathryn St. Clare had no opportunity to exercise her legal rights to protest by petitioning the district court of the county for their return or posting a bond of security to provide for the animal’s care for at least 30 days.
Six weeks after the cats were seized from Kathryn St. Clare she received a bill from the Snohomish County Animal Services for over $18,000 for their services. You can see the invoice above. You can see the gross injustice in this because Kathryn St. Clare could have used that money to look after the cats. She could have provided them with a place to live and bought sufficient food and medical supplies for them. This is bizarre because the illegal killing of the cats was carried out, as mentioned, because of a lack of money.
In addition, Animal Control, on the day that they seized and killed the cats were almost certainly in breach of animal welfare legislation in another way in that they confined the cats to a hot trailer on a hot day and killed them without bringing them into the shelter. At the time they were on shelter property with the shelter building yards away I suspect. The cats were dehydrating and suffering from thirst, panting and respiratory distress and it is estimated that the temperature in the trailer reached 100°F. Beforehand, Animal Control had removed coverings from the trailer to block the sun from the cats.
Kathryn St. Clare is fighting a battle for justice for her cats. She fights on but no doubt it is a very difficult fight. When you argue that the authorities are themselves in violation of animal welfare legislation in a gross and transparent way it is very difficult to obtain justice because the establishment protects itself although the courts should be independent. The trouble is that they too can be biased.
Kathryn St. Clare received legal advice about starting civil proceedings. It is quite likely that I will do a follow-up page because it’s a long and complicated story. It needed to be aired despite the fact that it occurred four years ago.
Source: direct communication with Kathryn and her website.
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