News

Langley man jailed for cruelty to pet dog

By GAYLE SARAN

Staff reporter

A Langley man with an arrest history including narcotics possession was arrested June 6 in connection with extreme neglect of a pet dog.

Brett Wrenchy, 43, is being held in Coupeville on $1,000 bond for failing to provide his dog — a spayed female Bouvier — with the necessary, food, water, shelter, sanitation and medical care. He was charged in Island County District Court with second-degree animal cruelty.

Wrenchy, who lives on Lakeside Drive, near Langley, was arrested June 6. The dog, which was recovered alive from the residence, later had to be euthanized.

At the time of the arrest, Wrenchy told Island County Animal Control officer Carol Barnes that the dog, named Cubby, had belonged to his brother, who died in 1994. Noting that he had just been released from jail, Wrenchy said was unaware of the dog’s condition. The dog, according to Barnes, lived under Wrenchy’s home.

Wrenchy pleaded not guilty on June 17 and was denied a reduction in bail by District Court Judge Peter Strow.

According to veterinarian David Parent, who examined the dog after it was brought to his office by Barnes, the dog was severely ill and neglected. Parent said the dog, which he estimated to be about 14 years old, was unable to walk.

According to Parent’s report, the dog had severe arthritis in all four legs and was emaciated, weighing about 57 pounds. The normal weight for a dog that size and breed is between 70 and 80 pounds.

Parent said it appeared to be in pain.

“Her coat was extremely matted with moss, filth, twigs up to one-half inch in diameter were imbedded in her coat,” he said. “She suffered from a severe flea infestation and her coat was covered with fly maggots infesting her eyes, nostrils, ears, anus and vagina.”

Island County sheriff’s deputies were called to Wrenchy’s home at 10:30 p.m. June 6 by a neighbor who heard “a groan coming from the bottom of his driveway. The neighbor reported seeing the dog staggering and then collapsing.

According to the sheriff’s office, the neighbor tried to contact the dog’s owner, but Wrenchy did not respond.

Barnes took the dog to the vet’s office about 3 a.m.

While deputies were checking the dog, Wrenchy appeared with a sleeping bag and flashlight to take the dog home, according to deputies, who arrested him.

In his report, Island County Deputy John Sawyers wrote that in his 11 years as an officer, “I never seen a dog so badly neglected.”

Wrenchy was arraigned June 17 and pled not guilty. Strow set bond at $1,000.

John Choate, a deputy prosecutor with Island County, the pre-trial hearing is set for July 29 and the trial in September.

Choate said the maximum penalty for second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor, is up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, a mandatory civil fine of $1,000 and forfeiture of the animal. In this case, Wrenchy would be prohibited from owning a dog for two years.

Another dog at the residence did not appear to be neglected or in poor condition,” Barnes reported.

The Dalmatian female mix was given to Wrenchy’s estranged wife, a Langley resident.

According to the sheriff’s office, one of Wrenchy’s most recent convictions was in May 2002 for possession of narcotics.

Barnes and the animal control office have taken a tough stance in recent years in neglect cases. However, they have not always gotten the support of the courts. Last summer, Strow threw out a neglect case brought against a Clinton couple after animal control seized the couple’s 14-year-old Dalmatian, which was suffering from complications related to old age. Strow’s ruling said, in effect, the couple was not required to keep the dog alive at all costs.

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