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Animal sanctuary applauds state court's ruling that animal cruelty can be domestic violence

Pasado's Safe Haven in Snohomish County sees several animal rescues linked to domestic violence per year.

MONROE, Wash. — An animal sanctuary in Snohomish County applauded the Washington Supreme Court's decision to designate certain animal cruelty cases as domestic violence.

Pasado's Safe Haven, tucked away in a rural part of Monroe, has been advocating for animal safety and rights for 25 years.

"Primarily our animals are victims of cruelty and neglect," Sanctuary Director Stephanie Perciful said.

The 85-acre space provides shelter and rehabilitation shelter for dogs, cats, even farm animals like pigs, sheep and goats.

Perciful said some of the animals they receive come from households that involved domestic violence. Bubba, a four-year-old Rottweiler mix, is one such rescue. 

Perciful said the dog arrived from Marysville more than a year ago with a skin condition and open wounds resulting from neglect. She said Bubba's owner was a victim of domestic violence and had to eventually leave her home and Bubba behind.

"Whether it was to get back at her or anger towards the dog, he let Bubba fall into horrific conditions," Perciful said.

Today, Bubba is healthy and full of energy after months of rehabilitation. Cases like his can now be approached differently in the court of law.

A Washington Supreme Court opinion issued last week, states that animal cruelty may be designated a crime of domestic violence.

The decision stemmed from a 2018 animal abuse case out of Tukwila.

"It doesn't create a new crime, but it allows for additional protections for the human victim," said Pasado's Safe Haven Director of Animal Cruelty Response & Prevention Kirsten Gregory, who is a practicing attorney.

Gregory said the decision also allows courts in Washington to issue protection orders very early in a domestic violence case.

Perciful said the court's opinion made sense and was glad to see it.

"You often have people that might not inflict physical abuse on their partner or the person, but they know the way to hurt them, is to go for who they love," Perciful said.

Bubba is now up for adoption. Those interested can submit an application here.

    

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