Man faces 12 counts of animal cruelty over makeshift slaughterhouse in Thurston County

In a case some say is like a scene straight of of grisly horror movie, a Thurston County man was accused in court Monday of starving, torturing and slaughtering pets he purchased on Craigslist.

David C. Williford, 26, was arrested Friday and charged Monday in Thurston County Superior Court with 12 counts of animal cruelty. Bail was set at $150,000.

Animal services officers who searched his property at 3835 Cooper Point Road NW, just outside Olympia city limits, reported bloody animal carcasses, caged and starving dogs, rats and rabbits, and walls and floors smeared with blood.

Near the outdoor basement door, investigators discovered coolers full of rabbit carcasses along with severed rabbit heads floating in a water bath. There were also several bags of guinea pig carcasses near the basement entrance, documents show.

The basement was covered in fresh blood, starting at the entrance, and the walls were spattered with blood, flesh and fur, documents show. Investigators reported “there was no blood-free area to step, so we had to walk through it.”

Investigators found several dead guinea pigs inside the home, and some of the bodies were still warm. Live rabbits were discovered in small cages without food, water or bedding, according to documents. In the suspect’s bedroom, investigators found three rats, two of which were in a cage on the floor without food or water, while a third was in a cage on top of a shelf.

In the dark, junk-filled attic, investigators found two small terrier-type dogs in a crate without bedding, food or water. Also on the property were several animal carcasses, as well as filthy chicken coops in which the birds were covered in dirt and feces, documents show.

At the scene, Williford told investigators that he slaughtered rabbits for food. At Monday’s court hearing, public defender Alex Frix reiterated that Williford used the animals at the house for food.

Christen A. Peters, deputy prosecuting attorney, had recommended a bail of $200,000 and said these allegations signal a propensity for other types of violence.

“This is clearly the most disturbing case I have ever reviewed,” Peters said at Monday’s court hearing. “I don’t believe any animal is safe around” Williford.

Williford faces six counts of animal cruelty in the first degree and six counts of animal cruelty in the second degree. In setting bail, Judge Erik Price said the prosecution and the defense are presenting two different views of the case.

“These are merely allegations at this point,” Price said, “but they are truly disturbing.”