A Thurston County man likely won’t serve jail time after pleading guilty to one count of second-degree animal abuse Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court.
David C. Williford had been charged with six counts of first-degree animal abuse and six counts of second-degree animal abuse after his February arrest. Animal Services, which serves Thurston County, had reported finding several rabbit and guinea pig carcasses stored in coolers, freezers and bags inside Williford’s home — in addition to several live animals kept in cramped and dirty cages, according to court documents.
The basement in the home was reportedly covered in fresh blood, and severed rabbit heads were found floating in a water bath. In the dark, junk-filled attic, investigators found two small terrier-type dogs in a crate without bedding, food or water, according to court documents.
At Thursday’s hearing, Williford pleaded guilty to the lesser charge as part of a plea deal. Judge James Dixon awarded him a 364-day suspended sentence, meaning Williford won’t serve the jail time unless he violates the conditions of the sentence — which prohibit Williford from committing any criminal law violations or owning any animals during his probationary period.
Dixon said that while he knows the case has evoked a lot of emotion from people in the community, he was comfortable with the sentence because he trusts the attorneys involved. The 364-day suspended sentence was a joint recommendation made by Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler and defense attorney James Morgan.
“The court believes the recommendation is appropriate because the court trusts the lawyers,” Dixon said.
Williford is also facing unrelated charges in Pierce County Superior Court. He was arrested in August and is awaiting trial on six counts of first-degree child molestation, two counts of second-degree rape, and second-degree rape of a child.