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Defendant to be retried in controversial Edmonds, Wash. animal cruelty case

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On Wednesday, March 19, My Edmonds News reported that an Edmonds, Washington woman involved in a controversial animal cruelty case will be retried on two counts of animal abuse.

Judge Douglas Fair confirmed on Wednesday morning that Rose Adams will be retried on the two counts of animal abuse. The animal cruelty case, which involved video footage of dog fighting, spread like wildfire thanks to social media. The case involved two defendants: Rose Adams and her boyfriend, George Beutler.

An Edmonds Municipal Court jury found Adams guilty of maintaining more than the legal number of dogs at her residence, but deadlocked on two animal cruelty charges against her. Adams was sentenced to 16 days in jail, $630 in fines, and told that she could not possess or have any animals for two years. The same jury cleared Beutler of animal cruelty.

Of the 14 dogs seized last May, nine were fostered out or adopted. Five dogs are still legally licensed to Adams. The animals remain in a shelter at the expense of the city.

The case, which involved months of hearings and continuances followed by a two-day trial, was the latest incident involving Adams and Beutler. The dog fighting video, which was posted on May 12, 2013, went viral as animal advocates responded to the animal abuse that it depicted. The video showed a vicious dog attack which Beutler allegedly tried to break up.

After the video was turned over to the authorities, a search warrant was issued and Edmonds police served a warrant on the couple’s home on May 14.

Adams faced two animal cruelty counts and one count of keeping more than the legal limit of five domestic animals. She had an additional pending public disturbance case.

Beutler faced one count of animal cruelty and three unrelated counts of third degree driving on a suspended license.

Judge Fair stated that these charges carry maximum sentences of 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines

Among the witnesses were Edmonds veterinarian Larry Remick, who treated two of the dogs, Sadie and Brownie, for injuries they sustained while in the care of Adams and Beutler.

Remick said that both dogs had bruising consistent with blunt trauma, such as being kicked or hit with a blunt instrument, and this indicated a "history of fighting and abuse."

Edmonds Animal Control Officers Debbie Dawson and Tabatha Shoemake also testified at the animal cruelty trial. Both officers were present when the warrant was served. They testified that one room had puddles of urine and feces. According to Officer Dawson, the waste appeared to have accumulated "over several days."

During the trial, Adams described herself as an animal rescuer who saved dogs from "high kill" shelters and placed them in homes.

“I have a great love for animals, not just dogs,” she stated. “I love them all.”

Adams outlined her skill in animal care and added: “[I cook] three times per week for the dogs, and bake home-made dog treats.”

Adams testified that on the night of the dog fight in question, she had focused on separating the dogs. She stated that if she hadn't broken up the fight that the dogs “would have killed each other - it’s what pit bulls do.”

Pit bull owners and advocates would disagree with the experienced animal rescuer's assessment of pit bulls.

Adams testified that only five of the dogs at her home were registered to her. The remaining nine dogs were rescues - and four that had been "placed under her care for the weekend while their owner was out of town."

Beutler, who testified that he does not share Adams' passion for dog rescue despite living with her, stated that he is "scared of pit bulls." He testified that the video depicted him trying to separate the fighting dogs.

A six-person municipal court jury heard instructions and closing statements before considering the evidence and rendering a verdict, where they deliberated for two hours.

The jury told Judge Fair that they were irretrievably deadlocked on the two animal abuse charges against Adams.

The RCW for first degree animal cruelty is RCW 16.52.205:

(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized in law, he or she intentionally
(a) inflicts substantial pain on,
(b) causes physical injury to, or
(c) kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.

(2) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized by law, he or she, with criminal negligence, starves, dehydrates, or suffocates an animal and as a result causes:
(a) Substantial and unjustifiable physical pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or
(b) death.

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