YAKIMA, Wash. -- An animal cruelty case KIMA followed for almost a year is over, and the woman at the center of it received a light punishment.
Police took almost 50 dogs from Evelyn Dauenhauer's home last April. Now, most of the charges against her were dismissed and the case never saw a jury.
Action News asked city prosecutors why she didn't get jail time.
It was like a scene from a reality TV show. Nearly half of the 47 dogs removed from a single home last year were put down because of the conditions.
Last May after continuing pressure from KIMA, city prosecutors filed 29 charges against owner Evelyn Dauenhauer including 19 gross misdemeanors.
Dauenhauer could have faced more than 11 years in jail and $50,000 in fines if convicted on everything.
Instead, her criminal charges amounted to this: Count 1 and 2 of possession of a pitbull -- dismissed. Guilty on the rest, but no jail time. When it comes to Animal abuse, counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 were all dismissed. She was found guilty on two counts but a judge still said no to jail time. Altogether just a $1,350 fine.
After going through public records, KIMA learned prosecutors agreed with that decision.
In fact, they pushed for it.
"So whatever she was given was recommended by the city?" Action News asked.
"That's correct," said Cynthia Martinez, Yakima city prosecutor.
But why? Just this one raid taxed the city's resources to the tune of at least:
- 4 police officers
- 2 from animal control
- 3 people from the humane society
- 2 code enforcement officers
- Several sheriff's deputies
"So the city has intervened a couple of times, now she's been charged, yet she still hasn't served jail time?" Action News asked.
"In this case, and I have to tell you, in every case, we look at a number of factors when looking at these recommendations," Martinez said.
Martinez wouldn't discuss those 'factors,' but says if Dauenhauer doesn't obey her current terms, she would be sent to jail for more than two years. Prosecutors are banking this punishment will be enough for this animal abuser to change her ways.
Dauenhauer will appear for a restitution hearing in March when she will be officially ordered to pay her fines.
If she doesn't pay her fines, the prosecutor says the city won't be able to do anything except send her to collections.
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