Hmmmm tell me what you think
(MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN FILE)
Humane Society volunteer Holly Roberts of Silverdale hands a rabbit to veterinarian Jim Moore on Nov. 10 at the KHS shelter on Dickey Road. The rabbit had been seized from a property in Olalla. Animal cruelty charges are pending against the couple who had 173 animals on their 5-acre property on 160th Street. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN FILE)
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OLALLA — An Olalla couple accused of neglecting 173 animals will be charged with second-degree animal cruelty in Kitsap County District Court.
Simon and Rosalind Bailey were allegedly hoarding the animals and did not provide enough water or sanitary living conditions for the animals, according to charging documents.
Second-degree animal cruelty is a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, the Baileys could face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Animal shelter staff had been working with the Baileys since April, when an anonymous tip led them to the 5-acre property on the 6900 block of SE 160th Street.
Humane Society staff members were concerned the couple did not have enough food in storage to feed the animals. They noted the property was not maintained well, with several cars and large junk items were scattered throughout. Most animal structures, like cages and fences, were improvised. Veterinarians on site during the seizure found some animals to have matted hair and open sores from unattended wounds.
Although the Baileys did not have a “picture-perfect farm,” their lawyer Paul Richmond said nothing on the property could have harmed the animals.
The couple will plead not guilty when they face the charges on Tuesday, he said.
Both grew up on farms and know how to treat animals, he said. The couple live near a feed store and have limited space to properly store food.
“This all looks wrong to us. Nothing is adding up. They’re saying these animals are mistreated, but all of them show healthy weight,” Richmond said.
A dead cow was found on the property, but Richmond said that was the “direct result” of following the shelter’s instructions. The Baileys were asked to leave out food at all times for the cow on Oct. 28, despite objections from Simon Bailey about the cow overeating and bloating. On Oct. 30, the cow died, according to documents.
He believes the Humane Society is using the incident as a way to “justify their existence and budget” pointing to a news article that quoted Director of Operations Jake Shapley saying focusing on animal rescue cases would be a bigger revenue generator than minor nuisance reports.
Richmond said the Baileys used the farm mainly as a source of food and income.
Richmond filed a petition Wednesday asking a judge to return the animals to the Baileys. He said the animals have already been neutered and spayed, greatly reducing their financial value for his clients.
All of the animals have been placed in foster care, according to Kitsap Humane Society spokeswoman Kristin Lauver. Seventeen larger animals were taken to Center Valley Animal Rescue in Port Ludlow.
Rosalind Bailey said Thursday that the Humane Society has “blown things out of proportion.”
She said each time shelter staff visited her property, the couple tried to comply with demands.
But they were blindsided when crews seized the animals and portrayed them as “animal abusers” to the public.
“We’re just not that way. When they told us to get rid of some animals, we took them to the auction, downsizing a lot of our animals,” Bailey, 47, said. “We still don’t understand why they are doing this.”
Since seizing the animals, she said the couple regularly gets recognized out in public, making a typical grocery run “nerve-racking, stressful and embarrassing.”
“I’d like to have my life back. My husband gets threatening phone calls on his cellphone,” she said with tears running down her face. “It’s hard to understand how things in April got to the place they are today.”