Homes sought for neglected dogs seized from Issaquah home

June 12, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Local shelters need to find homes for Chihuahuas seized from a filthy home in Issaquah last year, officials at the organizations announced June 8, days after the dog owner convicted in the case pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Regional Animal Services of King County and foster families started caring for the dogs in October, after animal control and King County Sheriff’s Office investigators discovered 62 dogs in a raid on a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien. Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

Officials at Regional Animal Services of King County and the Seattle Animal Shelter asked the public to consider adopting the rescued animals.

How to help

People interested in adopting a Chihuahua seized in Issaquah last year can go to the King County Pet Adoption Center, 21615 64th Ave. S., Kent, or the Seattle Animal Shelter, 2061 15th Ave. W., Seattle.

Find facility hours on the agencies’ websites, www.kingcounty.gov/pets or www.seattleanimalshelter.org, or by calling Regional Animal Services of King County at 206-296-7387 or the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-7387.

“We’re happy that these dogs have a second chance at a good life,” Glynis Frederiksen, Regional Animal Services of King County operations manager, said in a statement. “Thanks to our hardworking staff and wonderful foster families, we’ve been able to nurse them back to health. The previous owner has agreed to release them so that we can find them new forever homes.”

On June 5, Hamilton pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor.

The sentence required Hamilton to surrender all but three dogs, serve 48 months on probation, pay a $500 fine and pay $35,000 in restitution — $25,000 to Regional Animal Services of King County and $10,000 to CARES of Burien, a nonprofit animal-rescue organization.

Hamilton must also submit to semiannual inspections for five years so animal control officers can determine if the dogs have humane and safe living conditions. The sentence requires Hamilton to meet conditions of care set under law and by the animal control agency.

If Hamilton violates the terms, Regional Animal Services of King County can seize the dogs.

Investigators, alongside Burien and Regional Animal Services of King County animal control officers, raided the Issaquah and Burien homes last year after receiving a tip from Pasado’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit animal-rescue organization in Seattle.

In the Oct. 6 raid on the Issaquah home, deputies and animal control officers discovered dogs inside filthy crates covered in accumulated dust, dirt and dog hair.

“The Hamilton home displayed physical signs of classic hoarding; debris, clothes and household items were stacked from floor to ceiling in every room in the house, and in the main bedroom, clutter was everywhere, with pathways only wide enough to move in and out,” court documents state.

Police said the owner put four Chihuahuas in a van inside the garage. Hamilton intended to show the animals at a dog show in Enumclaw in the days ahead and worried police might seize them.

Frederiksen said the animals seized from the Issaquah home need lots of care and attention after the ordeal.

“They were kept in small, filthy kennels and had little contact with people or other dogs, and had little or no veterinary care during that time,” she said. “We are especially looking for pet owners who are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a special-needs dog.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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