Unknown killing 20+ ferrets and 3 birds Spokane, WA November 19, 1997

Jean Smith, a ferret breeder reported that some 90 ferrets were killed or left for dead in her home along with 3 birds.

Jean has been raising ferrets for 27 years.  Jean had 143 ferrets in her kennel when the attack occurred.  12 or 13 ferrets were not harmed

When Jean came home around 1pm she found the ferrets had been stabbed and injected with liquid draino and bleach.  Many of the ferrets were bleeding from their mouths, ears and noses.  Others were bloated and had huge open wounds.

The police were called the next day, after a veterinarians from Spokane and Washington State University in Pullman determined the animals had been stabbed.

39 ferrets survived the attach but are still very traumatized and nervous around people.  It will take sometime for them to recover from the memory.

In December an arrest warrant was issued for Smith's 20-year-old housemate for 8 felony counts of cruelty to animals.  The 8 felony counts is because that is how many ferrets were examined by a Pullman Veterinarian and found to have been poisoned.  Each charge carried up to a year in jail.

The 20-year-old had a history of troubles and at the request of his father, had moved into Smith's house.

The case began to fall apart when the syringe Smith found on the day the ferrets were killed could not be located.

The container at Smiths home that was to be analyzed for draino and/or bleach never made it to WSU veterinarians for analysis.

Tissue tests will have to be ordered in order to determine the chemical injected into the ferrets.  The samples will have to be sent to a clinic in the Midwest.

And by April 1998 charges were dropped against the 20-year-old because Jean Smith failed a lie detector test.

Now there is a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing the ferrets.  The Progressive Animal Welfare Society of Lynnwood Washington has put up the reward money.

If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact Detective Joe Walker at 509-625-4297 or Michelle Lombardi at the Prosecuting Attorney's office at (509) 456-5764.



Vancouver Columbian

The Deseret News