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Tuesday, Nov 1, 2011County: King
Alleged: Margie Hamilton
Margie Hamilton accused of hoarding dozens of dogs in deplorable conditions is an American Kennel Club judge.
Last month, King County deputies seized 100 dogs from homes in Burien and Issaquah after an anonymous tipster sent video documenting the animals' living conditions to Pasado's Safe Haven, an animal rescue group.
The footage, which was obtained by KOMO News on Wednesday, showed rusted cages matted with pet hair, dogs crammed in feces-infested cages, and empty food and water bowls.
Pasado turned the video over to the King County Sheriff's Office, which launched an investigation. Local rescue groups and veterinarians stepped in to care for the Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Japanese Chin dogs taken from the homes.
Then on Wednesday came the shocking revelation: "One of the owners of the dogs that were in such deplorable condition is actually a judge for the American Kennel Club," said Amber Chenoweth of Pasado's Safe Haven.
The woman said her attorney advised her against commenting on the ongoing investigation.
Pasado's is asking prosecutors to file 14 counts of animal cruelty against the woman for the 14 dogs that had to be euthanized due to illness.
"We're certainly going to be asking that they are never able to own dogs again," Chenoweth said.
Many of the seized dogs were placed under the care of Cares of Burien.
"The animals are our number one priority, that's all we're focused on, making sure they're treated fairly and get the medical treatment. And they're in good foster homes right now," said Debra George of Cares of Burien.
George said the shelter had to use the majority of its $10,000 monthly budget for the dogs' medical expenses, which cost approximately $7,000. Donations to Cares of Burien can be made at any Sterling Bank branch.
The sheriff's office said investigators are still several weeks away from forwarding the case to the prosecutor for possible charges.
Lisa Peterson, with the American Kennel Club says the organization is aware that one of its judges is currently under investigation in King County for animal cruelty. As a result of that investigation, the AKC temporarily suspended the judge's privileges "until it is determined whether or not she has violated the AKC judicial or administrative determination of inappropriate treatment policy."
Many of the dogs found within the homes were in poor health, including missing or nonexistent teeth and vision problems including complete blindness.
The Burien home housed 38 dogs, including Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Japanese Chins. In the Issaquah home, there were 62 dogs, most of which were in better health and in cleaner conditions.
According to a sheriff's office news release, all of the animals were in relatively poor health and were kept in extremely dirty dog crates. Sadly, while Pasado's Safe Haven intervened on the behalf of these dogs, 14 of them had to be euthanized.
The remainder of the dogs have been taken to CARES in Burien. Please contact them if you are interested in fostering or adopting. ((206) 81-CARES or (206) 812-2737)
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