Christopher Merrick, who has been charged with animal cruelty, failed to appear in court on Feb. 1, 2013 and as a result he now has an arrest warrant out for him. He is being accused of dumping 9 emaciated puppies near JBLM and leaving them to die. Although he has stated that he is innocent of the crime and neglect of the puppies his lack of appearance in court implies that he is in fact guilty of the crimes.
The accusation is that Christopher dumped the emaciated and dehydrated pups in a wooded area near JBLM. Investigators have said that their ribs were protruding and their paws were swollen twice the size they should have been. Some of the pups had eyes that were swollen shut. Other pups were bleeding from open sores all over their bodies and one of the pups died.
Despite the fact that he failed to show up in court and the growing evidence against him, Lori Merrick, his mother, said "We didn't abandon our dogs; we took them to go get help.” Lori has said that their dog had a litter of 9 pups, and her son attempted to drop them off at the Humane Society. However, once he found out that there is a fee to drop off the pups he left with them.
Like many other Humane Societies across the country, the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County says it does charge an owner a turn-in fee. In most cases, they are also willing and wanting to work with you to help the animals if you’re not able to pay the fees. It seems that either Christopher didn’t stick around to find that out or maybe never went there at all. Marguerite Richmond of the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County said "We do ask that people to put up a fee for several reasons. One is it does cost a lot to care for pets, and also because (we) don't just want to be the easy, free dumping place." Marguerite continued in saying "You know, that's why we exist. That's why we're here, so that animals don't get dumped."
Once he left the Humane Society Lori says that Christopher went elsewhere looking for assistance. Lori said "It was an acquaintance of his friend, and he would take the pups and adopt them out. And the next thing we know, Animal Control is asking about it and telling us they found the pups at Fort Lewis." During the investigation, Christopher identified two of the pups that had been found in the woods as being from the litter he says he had given to an associate. His mother Lori maintains "He's not guilty of animal cruelty. I have three dogs now."
Of the 9 puppies, one did not survive but the other 8 are doing well now in foster and adoptive homes. At this point its unclear if Christopher actually went to the Humane Society and talked to them about the 9 puppies or if he found out that there was a fee and never went. Lori states that she doesn’t believe that he dumped the pups in the woods. However, Christopher not showing up in court and now having an arrest warrant out for him does make it look like he is guilty of something and has something to hide. Should you know where Christopher is or have seen him, please contact the authorities and let them know.
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