(TIM RASSMUSSEN/Stevens County Prosecutor)
Stevens County Sheriff Deputy Jessica Garza and former Deputy Prosecutor Will Ferguson have been nominated for a special annual award called the Bucky Award.
The award is given by an animal rescue and sanctuary organization called Pasado’s Safe Haven.
Pasado’s is located in Snohomish County and is the largest animal sanctuary in the pacific northwest. It was founded in 1997 and named after a donkey which was killed by three teenage boys in 1992. The agency is involved in animal recues throughout the region and provides sanctuary care for up to 250 animals each day through the services of 30 employees.
This organization, along with others, assisted Stevens County Sheriff’s deputies last year in rescue operations involving over 250 small dogs from two puppy mills operating in the county. The involvement of these organizations was crucial to the successful rescue of these dogs and to the ongoing prosecution.
The Bucky award is named after a dog who was brutally killed in 2010. In memory of Bucky, Pasado’s Safe Haven offers an annual award to raise awareness for animal cruelty and to recognize the officers and prosecutors who do exceptional work on these difficult cases. The nomination stems from a 2017 investigation that Deputy Garza was involved in. Over 30 dogs and several cats were rescued and suspects were arrested and convicted of Animal Cruelty.
Animal cruelty cases are some of the most difficult cases we encounter. The witnesses can’t talk, the proof of the suffering of the animals is elusive and the care the animals need is expensive and logistically difficult. Last year, in the cases involving the two puppy mills, the 250 dogs had to be housed in the Stevens County Fair Grounds. Each had to be in a separate cage and each examined and treated by a veterinarian. (I believe that only one dog had to be destroyed as a result of its condition and another as a result of a diagnosis of Parvo.)
Although these cases are difficult, they raise more public concern and interest than homicide cases. For every email I receive in a homicide case, I receive 10 or more from folks who care about animal cruelty cases. I think this is because we all instinctively sense that animals are innocent victims and humans, whether or not in a particular case they are a victim, are capable of evil behavior. Certainly, people who abuse the truly innocent, like children and animals, deserve whatever we can do to hold them accountable. Thank you, Pasado’s, for helping us and for the care you demonstrate to abused animals.