LONGVIEW — About 50 marchers took to Longview’s streets Wednesday, calling for the county prosecutor to charge the people who allegedly abducted and shot two dogs earlier this month.
Holding signs and leashes with dogs of their own, the marchers trekked from the Longview Civic Circle to the Longview Police Department and Cowlitz County Hall of Justice.
March organizer William Rollet, a 27-year-old student at Lower Columbia College, said he barely knows Luke Moore, the Longview owner of huskies Link and Marley. But he said his attachment to his own dog spurred him to act.
Rollet said he feels let down by police and prosecutors. Longview police declined to recommend any charges before turning the case back last week to the Cowlitz County Humane Society, which submitted its report to the prosecutor’s office this week.
“We are a very caring community, and a lot of us have pets that we’re very attached to,” Rollet said. If he were Moore, he said, he wouldn’t want “to be fighting prosecutors or police officers to get charges filed.”
Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen said he just received the Humane Society’s investigation Tuesday afternoon and does not have a timeline to make a charging decision. He said he has received citizen emails and letters about the case.
According to a Longview Police investigation, officers were told by prosecutors that the case would not merit theft charges, so they gave it back to the Humane Society to investigate.
Link and Marley were shot in connection with the killing of a cat owned by a couple who live near John Null Park, several blocks away from Moore’s home in the Northlake area.
The cat owners, Anthony and Jodie Rodriguez, spoke up for the first time Wednesday, telling The Daily News that the huskies could have injured their children. Up to now, The Daily News has withheld their names because no charges have been filed. However, Anthony Rodriguez on Wednesday consented to be identified because the couple’s names, ages and addresses have been widely circulated on social media. Their attorney said they’ve received hateful voicemails.
In a written statement released through attorney Kevin Blondin, Anthony Rodriguez wrote: “On June 21, 2019, I returned home from work to find the two huskies collectively killing my cat in my backyard. Just before that, my wife and her mother had seen the dogs chase two of our children, ages four and seven, across our yard onto our back deck. If not for the cat distracting the dogs, the children may have been attacked and/or injured. Despite my physical intervention during the attack, the dogs continued to maul our cat in tandem in front of my children and would not leave.”
He said the dogs have regularly roamed the neighborhood unsupervised both before and after the June 21 incident. It’s illegal in Longview to let dogs run loose.
“My kids now have an ongoing fear of dogs and recurring nightmares of what they witnessed. We contacted the Humane Society that day and left a voicemail regarding the incident. The next day, my wife met with Tina Schneider of the Humane Society and relayed what occurred.”
On Sept. 15, Jodie Rodriguez’ father told Longview police that he and his daughter saw the dogs at John Null Park on Sept. 6, and brought them to the Rodriguez’ backyard where he tied them up. (A witness said they transported the dogs in a white truck.) He said he called the Humane Society but only got a voice message, and never heard back. Rodriquez’ father has not been charged with a crime and has not been available for an interview.
Around 11 p.m. that same night, he told the officer, the dogs were howling and he “was not going to just let them go,” because they’d killed the family cat and been aggressive at the park. The dogs were not licensed or tagged, he said, so he had no way to find the owners. (A Humane Society officer later clarified that they were micro-chipped.)
Ultimately, he told the officer, he shot and killed the dogs with a pellet gun in the backyard, then dumped their bodies in the slough at the Coal Creek boat ramp. They have not been found.
When the officer told him the Humane Society has an after-hours employee that could have assisted, he said he would have requested that person if he’d known they were available.
Another person interviewed by police said she’d frequently observed the two dogs running free in the neighborhood and howling at all hours. She said she’d observed one of the dogs being aggressive toward people, as well as a man who appeared to own the dogs “beating on” that dog, according to the report.
After the cat attack, Humane Society officials told Luke Moore to keep his dogs under better control, but said they were unable to determine whether the dogs were at fault for killing the cat. Otherwise, Moore and his daughter said Wednesday, they’ve never heard a complaint about Marley or Link. They’re “pretty much” inside dogs, he said, and at night, they’re only escorted outside to use the bathroom. And he said “no one” ever beats the dogs.
“Our neighbor’s kids would come over all the time and play with them,” Moore’s daughter Cassidy said. “No one ever complained.”
Moore said Wednesday that he doesn’t want people harassing the family, and he hasn’t taken any action against them himself, though he did join the Wednesday march.
“Leave it to the justice system,” Moore said. “I posted weeks ago (that) I don’t want anybody to take any action on themselves against them. Justice will prevail in the end.”