The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Pet sanctuary owner pleads guilty to 3 counts


Debra Lawson of Angel Wings Pet Sanctuary pleaded guilty to three counts in a deal with the State of Washington on Friday in District Court with Judge Heidi Heywood presiding.

Lawson, who was represented by Geordie Duckler, plead guilty to 1) operating a shelter and failure to tag each dog or cat, 2) operating a shelter and failure to provide indoor facilities adequately ventilated to remove foul odors, and 3) operating a shelter and failure to obtain a registration certificate.

In exchange, the state, represented by Wahkiakum County Prosecutor Dan Bigelow, dropped five counts. Lawson was fined $350. Each count that Lawson pled guilty to held a sentence of 90 days in jail for a total of 270 days, which was suspended. Lawson will remain under supervised probation for the next two years.

Lawson must not have any criminal violations or violate the terms of the following conditions for the next 24 months, or she risks reinstatement of jail time.

Lawson will not be able to breed, board, kennel, train, pet-sit, shelter, rescue, buy, sell, adopt, foster, raise or keep animals for agricultural purposes, dairy, recreation, or food, except fowl for eggs. Neither can she promote herself as someone who does any of these things.

She is not allowed to own or control more than 12 vertebrate animals at any one time, regardless of whether they are on her property or not. Probation or law enforcement will be able to inspect Lawson’s property at any time to determine compliance.

The state will not seek reimbursement for costs related to the seizure of animals on February 4 or for their maintenance after that date. A psychological evaluation will not be requested and Lawson must notify the court of any address changes. Lawson will not be charged for any animal that she turns in to the Cowlitz County Humane Society within the next 30 days.

Four dogs, if they still remain available at CCHS, will be returned to Lawson, including a mini-Shepherd, a Chihuahua, a pit bull, and a mixed-breed Lab.

Judge Heywood expressed concern that Lawson may already have more than 12 animals and reiterated that she had 30 days to remedy the matter.


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