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The Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office likely will decline to charge a man accused of operating a crude compound near Sumas where people engaged in sexual acts with animals.
Prosecutor Dave McEachran wrote in an e-mail that filing a first-degree animal abuse charge against Douglas Spink would be repetitive, given that on June 14 a federal judge in Seattle found that Spink had committed that offense.
Federal prosecutors levied charges that Spink violated four conditions of his probation by engaging in criminal behavior, lying to his probation officer, associating with criminals and leaving the country without permission.
They alleged that Spink videotaped a British man, Stephen Clarke, engaging in sexual acts with Spink's dogs, which violates Washington state animal cruelty statutes. The videotape was found during an April 14 raid of Spink's compound on Reese Hill Road. Several animals also were seized.
At a hearing June 14, the prosecutors called Clarke, a federal probation officer and a Whatcom County Sheriff's detective to testify before U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez, who ruled that the prosecutors proved the violations.
Spink is facing up to five years in prison when he's sentenced July 16. If Spink is sentenced, McEachran wrote that he won't pursue charging him in Whatcom County Superior Court.
"The penalty we can achieve here would be minimal compared to the federal penalty," McEachran wrote. "We do not have the resources to repetitively prosecute people for the same crimes that they have been held responsible for in different jurisdictions."
Spink likely would be facing less than a year in jail if found guilty of a first-degree animal abuse charge, according to state sentencing guidelines.
That would be served separately to any time he's ordered to serve in federal custody, Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, wrote in an e-mail.
Animal-rights advocates rallied outside the Whatcom County Courthouse earlier this month and lobbied McEachran to charge Spink.
Filing charges shows the public that bestiality is a crime, which, they hope, would lead to more prosecutions and would deter such crimes, said Kim Koon, an investigator with Pasado's Safe Haven, an animal-rescue organization.
"We've been very passionate about making sure bestiality cases get prosecuted," Koon said. "We want people to speak up about these crimes. We have to speak up for those animals."
Clarke was convicted of first-degree animal abuse in Whatcom County Superior Court in May. Federal prosecutors charged him with lying on his visa application, a charge he has also admitted. Martinez sentenced Clarke to time he's already served at a hearing that happened after Spink's.
Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/06/27/1498608/whatcom-county-likely-wont-charge.html#ixzz0sIST70eL
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