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"Snaps" released to animal sanctuary in Forks


Abused dog at center of assault case given second chance


"Snaps,"  the pit bull terrier, was released from King County custody today and transported to his new home at the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, announced Metropolitan King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who assisted in finding a place for Snaps and was present as the transfer took place.

Snaps has been in the custody of King County Animal Care and Control since an incident on June 21 in which the dog’s teenage owner and three other children kicked the dog and goaded him into attacking two women in SeaTac. The 16-year-old dog owner this week pleaded guilty to second-degree and third-degree assault and will be sentenced to confinement in King County’s juvenile detention center.

Snaps remained in the King County Animal Shelter in Kent as evidence in the attack case until prosecutors released him. His fate was in question because the abused pit bull was not considered adoptable. Most dogs taken into custody for attacking people are considered unadoptable and are euthanized.

“This animal is a victim of abuse and did not deserve to be euthanized just because of the irresponsibility of his owner, if any other appropriate options are available,” said Councilmember Lambert.

In response to requests from animal welfare supporters, Lambert advocated for Snaps to be placed with one of the very few private animal rescue organizations that can handle pit bulls. The Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks agreed to take charge of Snaps and provide rehabilitation. The non-profit sanctuary operated by Steve Markwell currently houses 46 non-adoptable dogs including fighting dogs, street dogs, feral dogs and wolf or coyote hybrids. A team of volunteers works with the dogs daily to teach them how to get along with humans and each other. They spend the rest of their natural lives at the sanctuary, which operates nationally and is supported entirely by donations. Markwell drove to Kent on Friday to pick up Snaps and transport him back to Forks.

“Snaps is an exception,” said animal advocate Kim Sgro of Woodinville. “There are dogs that are going through this sort of thing every day. They are being held in inappropriate conditions for rehabilitation and for lengthy periods of time. Most don’t get as much media attention, and they don’t get a second chance. We hope that the case of Snaps will serve as a precedent.”

“I would like to congratulate the research and advocacy of all the animal welfare supporters who contacted my office and the animal shelter on behalf of Snaps,” said Councilmember Lambert. “It is unfortunate that people were injured before this dog could be rescued from abuse, and I hope that the women who were injured have a speedy and complete recovery. In the case of Snaps, I believe this is a positive outcome.”

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