Granite Falls Police were called to a home on the 500 block of Granite Ave. on Friday, Jan. 21 after a locksmith smelled a horrible stench outside of the foreclosed home.
Granite Falls Police Chief Dennis Taylor and Officer Mike Tau entered the home thinking they may be looking for a human corpse. What they found were 28 cats and three dogs in different stages of decomposition.
“We went up there expecting to find someone who had passed away,” Taylor said. “We went in the house to look for humans and found ourselves in despicable, deplorable conditions.”
The home which was foreclosed on sometime in the fall was owned by Fannie Mae and had been vacant since sometime in December.
The floor of the home was covered in four inches of dried feces Taylor said.
“It was hard to describe the smell. It was really horrible,’ he said. “None of the animals could get out. They were locked in the house with no food or water.”
After finding three live cats, Taylor captured them and called a local animal shelter to take care of them. The shelter’s staff also helped clear the house of the 31 dead animals.
“We found three live cats and turned them over to Pasado’s Safe Haven and asked Pasado’s for assistance on the search warrant. They helped do the forensic analysis on the cadavers,” Taylor said.
Diane Cowling, 65, and her son Michael Cowling, 36, were arrested on Monday, Jan. 24 by Police Chief Taylor in Lake Stevens.
“I went down and contacted them in their new apartment in Lake Stevens,” Taylor said. “They were in possession of two other cats and a dog. I seized those as well.”
Neighbors had not complained but when asked by police, they said they had smelled something but didn’t know where it was coming from.
The two were charged with 34 counts of animal cruelty in the first degree and were arraigned on Tuesday, Jan. 25. They were each held on $100,000 bail. Everett District Court Judge Roger Fisher followed the prosecutor’s recommendation.
Animal rights picketers were congregated in front of the Snohomish County Courthouse during the arraignment, some with photos of the animal carcasses from inside the home.