Owners of animals criticize Humane Society rescue
November 22, 2011 · Updated 7:40 PM
As gray light seeps into the sky on a rainy morning, Simon Bailey shows a visitor around the cluttered 5-acre spread where he and his wife, Rosalind, live on the Kitsap County line south of Olalla.
The untidy place is nobody’s romanticized ideal of a family farm; in fact, it’s an undeniable mess. Still, the heavyset Bailey seems unconcerned about appearances as he walks by junked vehicles and piles of used lumber, pointing out an old camper shell he converted into a shelter for his goats.
The goats are gone now, along with the chickens, rabbits, ducks, sheep, dogs, cats, alpacas, mini-horses, a llama and a pig. The Humane Society hauled them all off two weeks ago, because animal welfare officers determined the Baileys were not providing adequate care for their critters.
“None of my animals was in imminent danger,” Bailey insisted during an interview Tuesday morning in the living room of their manufactured home.
On the walls are old black-and-white photographs of Rosalind Bailey’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, who are of Mexican and Native American ancestry. Two glass-doored cabinets in the living room hold her parents’ collection of Native American dolls.
Her sister, Anamaria Yhaya, and Simon’s sister, Barb Bailey, who live on adjoining properties, joined the couple during the interview.
All their land comprises more than 15 acres, and it’s been owned by the family of the two sisters since the 1970s.
Yhaya acknowledged the ramshackle appearance of the Baileys’ farm, but said that shouldn’t be construed as reason to seize their animals.
“We all admit the property is not in the best repair,” she said. “But does that mean these animals were neglected and abused?”
Jake Shapley, animal rescue chief and operations director for Kitsap Humane Society, said he was the one who decided the conditions were so bad that the animals needed to be removed.
As for criticisms that in photos that have been made public, the animals don’t appear to be underfed or in obvious poor health, Shapley said there’s a lot more to the story.
“The seizure was not just based on the immediate visible condition of the animals when you go in there,” he said. It’s based on whether the animals have sanitary living conditions, access to clean water, etc.
“I really didn’t see anything to lead me believe any of these animals was being kept well, or well enough according to law,” Shapley said.
Simon Bailey said a Kitsap Humane Society animal welfare officer came out to investigate in April after someone called in a complaint. Bailey said he built a shed for his cow and three mini-horses as the officer required, but that other complaints last spring turned out to be unfounded and the officer closed the case.
This fall another KHS officer, Julie Goode, began investigating the Baileys’ place. Family members described her as more antagonistic toward them than the previous officer.
“He worked with us, he was very nice,” Rosalind Bailey said.
The relatives all said that Goode was wrong when she told the Baileys it would be illegal for them to butcher their own cow, and they said she threatened to have them arrested if they did.
The couple’s cow is a key point of contention in their dispute with the Humane Society.
Shapley said the cow apparently starved to death, which prompted concern that the same thing could happen to other animals there.
But Simon Bailey said they had been ordered to have food out for the cow 24 hours a day, and that as a result she ate so much she bloated overnight and died.
He said he could have saved her if he had known the cow was starting to bloat, but he didn’t notice in time.
“I’ve got probably 1,000 pounds of edible meat buried out there on my property,” he said.
Bailey, who said he is medically disabled, grew up on a ranch in Eastern Oregon and has been around animals all his life.
“I’ve been around probably 40 times more animals than anyone at the Humane Society over there has,” he said. “I know how to take care of livestock, and animals.”
He and family members said after the cow died, they were told they had until Nov. 6 to schedule a veterinarian to come out and check the health of all their other animals.
Bailey said after many calls, he was able to make an appointment with a vet from Clover Valley Veterinary Services in Port Orchard, but the Humane Society came to seize their animals Nov. 10, five days before their scheduled vet visit.
“The problem is toward theend, we got a lot of pushback,” Shapley said.
“They had been given multiple deadlines that had gone by,” he said, “to provide shelter, to show us veterinary care records they couldn’t produce.”
KHS officers gave the Baileys plenty of chances, he said, but “the bottom line is they were not in compliance.”
Bailey said his animals were adequately fed, even though he didn’t have the capacity to store a long-term supply of feed on their farm.
And he maintains it’s the Humane Society folks who don’t know how to properly care for animals.
They sure had a hard time rounding up the critters to haul them off, he said.
“I ended up catching most of the animals for them,” he said, recalling the KHS officers futilely chasing after chickens and goats.
Asked what would be a good outcome for their situation, he replied: “Get our animals back, and do what we were doing before — selling them for money, and butchering them for food.”