Fifteen months ago, Rescue4All was contacted by an amazing Stevens County Sheriff’s deputy and we were asked to if we could help with 40+ animal hoarding/puppy mill/cruelty case in Stevens County and without hesitation we said yes and agreed to help get the dogs safe.
Thomas “Rusty” Hostetler & Teresa Marie Hostetler were very well known to the Stevens County Sheriff’s office and over the course of 14+ years they had been out to their property multiple times, had numerous complaints, and reports of the abhorrent conditions that these animals were living in.
Rescuing the those 42 animals from the hell they endured for years on Peggy Way was one of the most exhausting and all consuming things our small, volunteer foster home based rescue had ever done.
There were 3 amazing individual Sheriff’s deputies who came to help while their where both on and off duty. Special shout out to Deputy Mike Berry, Deputy Jessica Garza, & Deputy Travis Frizzel.
Those individual deputies were there with R4A getting those dogs (and a few cats) off chains, out of rusted pens and into crates to get them out of the sheer hell they lived in for years and years. They also helped coordinate the emergency shelter and HEART to be able to assist in this huge undertaking for our organization.
Those individual Stevens County deputies are such great examples of law enforcement who truly care about helping their community.
What was the most shocking, disenfranchising, and frustrating was that as I followed the court proceedings it became apparent that the actual Sheriff & his administration didn’t have any idea of what was happening, had happened, or that I had been in possession & providing care for the 3 animals who were considered evidence of Stevens County Sheriff Office and were their responsibility.
I personally took care of the 3 animals that were seized under the Sheriff’s office search warrant because there was absolutely no communication from the administration.
They did not return my calls, they never checked to see if I even had maintained the chain of custody for these animals, much less whether they were still alive! An entire case could have been lost because of their gross mishandling of these proceedings.
My non-profit, volunteer rescue organization not only spent hundreds of hours of our time to rehabilitate those animals, but the administration of the Stevens County Sheriff’s office left us with the financial burden as well for the cost of care for them.
I provided housing them in my home, feeding them, all vet care, and ultimately taking money away from animals we could have been helping.
I maintained meticulous records while they were in my care under long term evidence fostering. In January I began sending the current Stevens County Sheriff Administration a bill for the cost of care for the 3 animals. I sent one every month and did not receive even a reply to my email let alone a phone call acknowledging that I still had the animals.
Thomas & Theresa Hostetler were found guilty and were convicted of animal cruelty. The Judge who oversaw the case, sentenced them each to actual jail time, and they were ordered to pay restitution for the animals.
And here is the biggest slap in the face…. we submitted several invoices for the animals at $20/day per animal. The total was $$14,792.00 and that is to this day unpaid.
It is the responsibility of a Sheriff’s Administration to ensure that the bill for their evidence would be paid, and then they are the entity who then attempts to recover the costs from the guilty party.
Instead in this case, they did not pay us, a small volunteer, foster home based rescue organization; instead they denied all liability for the bill and made Rescue4All attempt to recover the costs alone.
If you can’t make even one attempt to communicate over a 15 month case with a non-profit volunteer organization who helped clean up your backyard, let alone pay your financial responsibility, then what else are you NOT doing?
Time for the current Stevens County Sheriff’s Office to learn what it means to be RESPONSIBLE and have INTEGRITY.
Way to treat a volunteer, non-profit rescue group who HELPED YOUR CASE STEVENS COUNTY SHERIFF.