New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!
For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.
Thursday, Apr 21, 2005County: Benton
Alleged: Raymona Balko Beaudoin
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
Kennewick's "bird lady" was arrested April 21, 2005 after state wildlife agents and Kennewick police allegedly found hundreds of illegal and neglected birds in a raid at her 10th Avenue home.
Raymona Balko, 70, was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of animal cruelty charges.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife also is expected to seek charges for possessing protected wildlife and live wild birds, said Sgt. John McIntosh.
What officers found at 4002 W. 10th Ave. was shocking, said Kennewick Detective Rick Runge.
"If you took all the meth houses I've been to and added them up, it wouldn't be as filthy as this house," he said.
The house and yard were filled with about 400 birds.
McIntosh estimated there to be several dozens species, including magpies, hawks, owls, pheasants, quail and more. "She had no business possessing these birds," he said.
Bruce Young with Tri-City Animal Control said his staff also seized chickens and roosters, pigeons, a goose, peacocks, as well as a couple of dogs and a cat.
Some birds were in chicken-wire cages, others were perched in trees or in bushes, and inside they were sitting on curtain rods and just about everywhere else, officers said.
Scattered throughout house and yard were dead birds in various states of decay.
And officers reported finding bird body parts and piles of bird droppings littered randomly throughout the house, where Balko reportedly lived alone.
All the animals, Young and McIntosh said, appear neglected.
This is the second time wildlife agents have seized birds from Balko's home. McIntosh said she was convicted of similar charges in 1992.
And she had been charged twice before that with wildlife violations, but those charges were later dismissed.
Balko told the Herald in an interview in 2000 she has been a fixture since 1973 at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo, where she would bring just-hatched chicks for children to see and touch.
Balko said she has a degree in bird management from the University of Nebraska and once had a federal permit to care for wild birds. But even after that expired in 1988, people still brought her injured, abused or unwanted birds to rehabilitate and care for, she said.
On Thursday, a sign in her yard read: "I've spent most of my life helping birds. The rest I've just wasted."
But neighbors have complained for decades about the noise, smell and wandering birds. Neighbors are angry the courts and others have failed to keep Balko accountable to previous court orders, including one that supposedly barred her from keeping birds.
"They have been a nuisance since we moved here in 1984," said neighbor Vickey Priest.
Runge said some neighbors also recently complained about alleged drug users using the 2.5-acre property as a refuge to get high or make illegal drugs. But an initial search Thursday found no evidence of illegal drugs or drug making.
Young said a veterinarian will check out the animals at Tri-City Animal Control. He hoped they could be restored to health and adopted, but those that can't likely will be euthanized.
McIntosh said the wild birds would undergo a similar process with a licensed Prosser rehabilitator who cares for and prepares birds and animals to return to the wild.
|The case against Raymona Beaudoin has again been put on hold while her attorney seeks a second mental evaluation. Beaudoin, 71, is charged with first-degree animal cruelty. |
A judge in July ruled she is competent to stand trial following evaluations by psychologists at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake.
However Wednesday, Judge Craig Matheson signed an order putting the case on hold because defense attorney Mason Pickett's wants her to undergo more testing by a licensed doctor or psychologist.
Beaudoin, long known as Kennewick's "bird lady," was arrested in April after Kennewick police and agents with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife raided her home.
Agents found magpies, hawks, owls, pheasants, quail, peacocks, a goose, a dog, two cats and about 100 chickens all malnourished and with no food or water accessible, court documents said.
Another hearing for her is set Nov. 9.
|Source: Tri-City Herald - Sept 29, 2005|
Update posted on Sep 29, 2005 - 8:58PM
|The woman known as Kennewick's "bird lady" recently underwent a mental evaluation. Her lawyer says she is offended by the request, but agreed to the evaluation. Ramona Balko is charged with one count of animal cruelty. Benton County Prosecutors say Balko will be in court later this month and the findings of the evaluation will be addressed.|
|Source: KNDU - May 25, 2005|
Update posted on May 26, 2005 - 1:43PM
|A judge has ordered Raymona Beaudoin to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before the case moves forward.|
|Source: KVEW42 - May 3, 2005|
Update posted on May 4, 2005 - 9:50AM
- seattletimes.com - April 22, 2005
- Tri-City Herald - April 23, 2005
- CBS News - April 22, 2005
- Yahoo News - April 22, ,2005
Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.
For more information regarding classifications and usage of this database, please visit the database notes and disclaimer.