A 31-year-old Thurston County man will likely face animal cruelty charges after investigators discovered a severely injured, partially paralyzed dog during the course of a narcotics investigation at his Nisqually Park Loop Southeast house.
The dog had been living in that condition since being hit by a car in January, said Ric Torgerson, executive director of Joint Animal Services in Olympia.
The female husky-shepherd mix named Spaz had exposed bone and soft tissue on its back legs. The veterinarian recommended that the dog be put down.
“You just imagine this animal dragging its back end all around,” Torgerson said.
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“(It was) pretty horrific, actually.”
Nicholas James Pollard, the suspect in the case, appeared in Thurston County Superior Court on Tuesday. Commissioner Nathan Kortokax found probable cause for one count of first-degree animal cruelty against Pollard.
Pollard also had appeared before Kortokrax on Monday, and the commissioner found probable cause for charges of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and maintaining a drug house. These potential charges are the result of a Thurston County Narcotics Task Force investigation.
Several residents of the Nisqually Park Loop home were arrested on Sept. 22. Detectives contacted Joint Animal Services to remove four dogs, including Spaz, according to court documents.
Investigators determined that Spaz couldn’t walk — she was paralyzed from the waist down and could only drag her back legs behind her. She had been sleeping under the mobile home on a filthy blanket.
A veterinarian at the Steamboat Animal Hospital found that the dog’s ankle had been wrapped in a bandage, then covered in a sock. Underneath, the dog’s bone had been exposed.
An X-ray confirmed two spinal fractures. The veterinarian observed that the dog was in extreme pain, according to court documents.
An Animal Services investigator learned that Spaz was struck by a car and taken by a good Samaritan to a local veterinarian on Jan. 15. The veterinarian recommended surgery or euthanasia, but Pollard reportedly said he was “not able to do this.”
He took the animal home.
The court documents allege that Pollard’s ex-girlfriend told investigators that she had begged Pollard to put Spaz down, but he wouldn’t. Within the past few days, she offered to give Animal Services money to have the dog treated. She was told that her offer came about eight months too late, and that the dog had been put down.
Brandea Taurman contacted The Olympian on Wednesday afternoon and said that she is Pollard’s current girlfriend — and that the two have been together since before Spaz was hit by the car. She said that she and Pollard never treated the dog poorly.
“We love animals,” Taurman said. “We have three other dogs, and we’ve always treated them well.”
Taurman said that she and Pollard didn’t believe that Spaz’s spine was broken. A vet told them in January that she may have suffered spinal bruising.
“I didn’t have the heart to put her down if there was a chance that it was something that would heal,” Taurman said. “I begged him not to put her down.”
She said the dog had two wheelchair-like devices, but she occasionally got outside without the devices being attached first. The dog injured her foot on some loose gravel, and worsened the wound by licking it, Taurman said.
Often, people other than herself of Pollard changed Spaz’s bandages.
“I don’t think (Pollard) knew how bad it was,” Taurman said.
She added that the dog lived outside because Pollard himself was living in a camper on the Nisqually Park Loop property.