Three dogs going back to Issaquah animal abuser
By CELESTE GRACEY
Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer
June 20, 2012 · 2:43 PM
When Rebecca Szper first began fostering DD, a long-haired Chihuahua, the pup did nothing but curl up in her lap. Aside from not being house broken, she seemed easy.
Then Szper began to notice that the dog also didn’t play, she didn’t smell things or even bark. DD, who was taken during an animal cruelty investigation, was a shell of a dog.
Her owner, Issaquah’s Margaret Hamilton, 70, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree animal cruelty. Courts fined her $35,500. Hamilton was able to keep three dogs, and one of them is DD.
“It’s devastating,” Szper said, keeping the now feisty Chihuahua calm with a tube of peanut butter. She believes Hamilton shouldn’t be allowed to have any dogs.
Since taking care of DD, Szper has seen the pup change. While she doesn’t do well with strangers, she’s silly and sweet with her caretakers. So much so that Szper began calling her “DD,” because her original name, Diva, was so ill-fitting.
“Right now there is a light behind her eyes,” she said. The dog with its wispy hair is also beautiful. “That’s her downfall.”
Hamilton was a breeder, but she also was a judge for the American Kennel Club. When animal control arrived, she had hidden some dogs she intended to show, according to court documents.
AKC, known for nationally certifying purebreds, hasn’t decided what action, if any, to take with Hamilton. While it could include suspension from all AKC activities and fines, the group is waiting to see the court documents before making a decision.
Fourteen of Hamilton’s dogs were so sick that veterinarians had to euthanize them. Some had dental problems so severe their jaws rotted. Most of them had muscle atrophy, were under fed and were covered in feces from being locked in cages, according court documents.
Since the dogs were rescued, they have had months to grow stronger in foster homes. Now that the trial is over, Regional Animal Services of King County is trying to find them homes.
Szper was hoping DD would get placed with a nice family, one that would continue her training. When DD first arrived, she didn’t even know how to walk up stairs. Today, she runs up and down them for exercise. She sits, stays and even bows.
When animal control came to Hamilton’s house to take away the dogs, she insisted that she hadn’t done anything wrong, according to the court papers.
Szper is concerned that her mentality hasn’t changed, and worries for the dog.
“I can imagine what her future is going to be, and it breaks my heart.”
Adopt a Pup
People interested in adopting one of the abused pups can stop by the King County Pet Adoption Center, 21615 64th Ave. S. in Kent, or the Seattle Animal Shelter, 2061 15th Ave. W. in Seattle.
Contact Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer Celeste Gracey at email@example.com or 425-391-0363.