EVERETT — The Attorney General’s Office announced today it filed eight felony charges against Blayne M. Perez in Snohomish County Superior Court. The charges include seven charges of first degree animal cruelty and one charge of first degree malicious mischief.
If convicted, Perez faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of first degree animal cruelty and 10 years in prison for the charge of first degree malicious mischief. Additionally, Perez faces fines of up to $10,000 for each count of first degree animal cruelty and $20,000 for the charge of first degree malicious mischief.
The criminal charges stem from a resident’s January 2022 report to Everett police that a neighbor shot birds and squirrels then displayed the dead animals around his property. A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officer responded later and observed Perez shooting from his property into trees and the sky. In February 2022, police served a search warrant and found numerous animal carcasses on display at the property.
In April 2022, neighbors reported seeing Perez continue to shoot birds and squirrels around his neighborhood. When officers spoke with neighbors, many said they had removed their bird feeders to avoid further animal deaths.
On September 25, 2022, a couple informed Everett police that a man drove by and shot their cat. A witness saw part of a license plate, which matched a car registered at Perez’s address. Law enforcement previously observed Perez driving a car matching the witness’ description. Perez was arrested later that day.
The cat suffered significant injuries and incurred thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.
Assistant Attorneys General Scott Halloran and Kelsey Force will handle the case for the Attorney General’s Office.
Below, the affidavit of probable cause filed with the court is included in its entirety.
The information contained in the affidavit of probable cause are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division is prosecuting the case. Under state law and the Washington State Constitution, the Attorney General’s Office does not have authority to initiate criminal investigations, unless it receives and accepts a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor. The Attorney General’s Office accepted a referral from the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney in this case.
The Rules of Professional Conduct govern what a prosecutor in a criminal case may say publicly before trial. As the prosecutor in this criminal matter, the Attorney General’s Office and its representatives are prohibited from making public statements beyond the narrow scope allowed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The office will make every effort to be transparent with the public, while upholding its responsibilities as a criminal prosecutor.
AFFIDAVIT OF PROBABLE CAUSE
AFFIDAVIT BY CERTIFICATION:
The undersigned certifies that I am an Assistant Attorney General for Washington, and make this affidavit in that capacity; that criminal charges have been filed against the above-named defendant in this cause, and that I believe probable cause exists for the arrest of the defendant on the charges because of the following facts and circumstances. This information is not based upon any independent or personal knowledge of these events, unless specifically noted.
In Snohomish County Washington, the Defendant committed the acts described in the attached synopsis attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
On January 19, 2022, an Everett resident reported to police that for two weeks her neighbor was repeatedly shooting and killing birds and squirrels and then displaying the carcasses
around his property. The reporting party provided photos of the suspect pointing a long gun into the sky and trees, and of dead crows and squirrels gruesomely nailed or screwed into the back of a shed on the suspect's property at 2443 Columbia Ave. in Everett, WA. She further reported that some of the birds were still alive after being shot, before the suspect then shoved sticks down their throats to display them.
Officers later identified the suspect as Blayne M. Perez (DOB 02/21/89) based on Department of Licensing photos and address information, and prior jail booking photos. Perez's vehicle was also registered to his Columbia Ave. address.
A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officer observed Perez pointing his long gun into the sky and shooting at birds on February 5, 2022. During his plain-clothes walk by, Officer Barabasz heard a popping sound consistent with that of an air rifle as several crows responded by cawing and chittering excitedly. The discharge of any B.B. or air gun is a criminal violation of Everett Municipal Code Ch. 9.86. Barabasz photographed Perez walking slowly with his long gun pointed skyward. Hunting for crows without a game license, which Perez did not have, or out of season, which ran from September l, 2021 to December 31, 2021, amounts to unlawful hunting of wild birds in violation of RCW 77.15.400.
On February 18, 2022, Everett Police Department and WDFW officers served a search warrant on Perez's property. Officers observed and photographed numerous dead wildlife. These included crows, squirrels, and multiple species of songbirds in various gruesome displays. Some of the birds were screwed to the back wall of Perez's shed, with their wings splayed open. Small songbirds were impaled on barbecue skewers and sticks. A deceased Stellar's jay appeared to have been used as live bait in a box trap in the yard, with another bird impaled on a stick tied to the trap. A wrench found on the back deck of Perez's residence had blood and feathers stuck to it, consistent with being used to inflict blunt force trauma on birds. Similarly, a golf club was used to impale another crow to the roof of the shed.
Officers removed two air rifles and more than a dozen deceased animals from Perez's property, not including others in advanced stages of decay. Some of the 8 crows removed had been impaled, screwed, or nailed to the shed or other surfaces in the backyard. Four small songbirds were removed, including chickadees and a junco. Two chickadees were impaled on the twin tines of a barbecue skewer. A squirrel had been nailed through its skull to the back wall of the shed, with the rest of its body hanging below. One crow was nailed to a log with its wings splayed open, and another crow next to it had its head removed. One WDFW officer present described Perez's property as the most disturbing and grotesque scene that he had encountered in his entire career.
Perez was not home when the warrant was served. WDFW Officer Stephanie Tank called Perez's cell phone during service of the warrant, and left him a message on his voicemail. Perez called Tank back that evening and engaged in a 45 minute conversation. Perez considered the birds and wildlife to be pests that were, "fucking up my shit." Each of the aforementioned killings violated Washington criminal wildlife statutes; none of the bird or animal killings were authorized by law.
In the telephone call with Officer Tank, Perez said he began shooting the birds around the big snowfall in December ( of 2021 ). Officer Tank was aware that snow event began around December 24, which additional accumulation occurring into the first week of January, 2022, before melting. The original reporting party contacted police on January 19, 2022, saying her neighbor (later identified as Perez) had been shooting and displaying birds for the past two weeks. No snow is on the ground on the pictures the reporting party took, making that timeline consistent with January 5th onward.
Additionally, the number of dead birds and wildlife gruesomely displayed on Perez's shed and property increased over time. Three to 5 birds are visible in the original reporting party pictures. Officer Barabasz saw Perez shooting at more birds two weeks later on February 5, 2022. Photographs taken during service of the warrant on February 18 show even more killed and displayed birds and wildlife, compared to a month earlier.
In the telephone call with Officer Tank, Perez said that he displayed the birds and animals he killed as a deterrent to any remaining birds, similar to a scarecrow. He described using the bird in the live trap as bait for an opossum which he saw in the yard. Perez denied any of the birds were alive after he shot them, stating that the reason he got a more powerful air rifle was for quicker kills when he shot them.
The backyard where Perez killed and displayed the dead birds and animals is 20 to 60 feet from neighboring homes. The Sunrise View Assisted Living Facility is approximately 160 feet away, and the Broadway Grocery is also close by. Perez's backyard killing and gruesome displays were plainly visible to the surrounding community, as confirmed by multiple witness statements.
In April of 2022, officers were notified of a dead squirrel impaled through its skull to a tree at the entrance to the Interurban Trail in Everett. Officers recognized the manner of display as very similar to those impaled on Perez's shed months earlier. Officers trying to contact Perez about the squirrel were met by multiple neighbors, including from the assisted living facility, who described seeing Perez continuing to shoot and kill birds and squirrels as recently as the day before. Neighbors described their anguish at having to remove all their bird feeders to avoid Perez turning their yards into a killing field.
The U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducted necropsies on 14 of the animals recovered from the search of Perez's property. Among the results, the veterinary pathologist determined that 3 of the birds (Lab-6, Lab-7, Lab-9) suffered non-fatal wing fracture injuries that immediately prevented flight. Those birds were later killed by trauma inflicted after they could no longer fly away. Similarly, Lab-8 suffered a non-fatal body gunshot, which likely stunned it prior to it being killed by inflicted head trauma.
One of the impaled chickadees, Lab-I 2, was killed by inflicted trauma, with no trace of projectile metal or distinct gunshot wound tract. The squirrel (Lab-5) that Perez nailed to his shed was shot four times, including a non-fatal injury to the right forelimb where the air gun pellet remained embedded.
On August 17, 2022, Everett police responded to a report of a man shooting at squirrels and dismembering them with a knife in Lowell Riverfront Park. An officer heading toward the park saw an older white Subaru station wagon go by with an animal pelt attached to the roof above the driver's door. Based on witness descriptions, police determined that the suspect in the park matched Perez. When contacted, Perez admitted to shooting at squirrels in the park, and skinning a rabbit there. Perez said he thought the 10-mintute drive to the park was far enough from his residence to evade the neighbor's attention the way shooting animals at home did.
Around 8:15 am on September 25, 2022, Sean and Sarah Moore were gardening and drinking coffee in their yard at 6426 Lombard Ave in Everett. Their-eight-month-old-cat, Hades, played on the other side of the fence near the street. Sean Moore noticed an older white Subaru station wagon slowly pull up the street. Sean then heard a popping noise, followed by Hades frantically climbing the fence, crying in pain and bleeding from an apparent eye injury. Sarah Moore yelled at the driver as the Subaru first drove away, then circled the block before fleeing the area. Sarah observed part of the license plate, which matched the one registered to Perez's address.
One of the initial responding officers recognized that the description of the driver and the white Subaru matched Perez, from the prior contacts involving shooting animals in Everett. Police took Sean and Sarah Moore to where Perez's vehicle was located at his residence. Both positively identified the Subaru as the one present when Hades was shot. Subsequently obtained video from their neighbor's security cameras also confirmed that Perez's Subaru was the one involved in the shooting of Hades. Perez can be seen driving the Subaru in one of the related security camera videos.
Officers peering into the Subaru in Perez's driveway observed air gun pellets on the front driver and passenger seats. Although the door was open and the television could be heard, no one responded to the multiple knocks of police identifying themselves at Perez's residence. When contacted by police at his residence later that day, Perez initially denied any involvement in shooting Hades, insisting that he was in Lynnwood at the time, despite videos placing him at the scene of the shooting in Everett. Perez claimed he had poor eyesight and was not shooting at anything that morning.
Officers arrested Perez. While being handcuffed, Perez stated, "Since we already got me lying, can I stand here and tell you the truth in front of my girlfriend?" Police first read Perez his constitutional Miranda rights, as captured on their body cameras. Perez confirmed that he understood those rights, but wished to waive them and speak to the officers. Perez then admitted driving around the neighborhood slowly and shooting at birds and various wild animals. He denied knowingly shooting a cat. Perez said he was out driving early enough that he thought no one would see him shooting animals. Multiple neighbors of Perez gave written statements saying he continuously shot birds and animals for several months, despite them repeatedly asking him to stop his killings.
Sean and Sarah Moore's cat suffered extensive injuries. Hades's retina was damaged beyond repair, necessitating surgery to remove his eye. Metal fragments were surgically removed, including below his right ear. His right mandible (lower jaw) was fractured, extending to the temporal mandibular joint. Hades' extensive injuries from the shooting have . resulted in veterinary care and medical bills costing the Moore family $9,000 or more
State's Motion To Set Conditions of Release -The State moves the Court to order the Defendant to not own, care for, or reside with any animals during the pendency of this case. The State further moves the Court to order the defendant to have no criminal law violations. Should the Defendant be convicted of Animal Cruelty in the First Degree, he would be permanently prohibited from possessing or residing with animals pursuant to RCW I 6.52.200(4)(b).
Based upon a review of databases maintained by state and federal agencies, the Prosecutor's understanding of the defendant's criminal history is set forth in Appendix A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct.
DATED the 6th day of March, 2023 at the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Snohomish County, Washington.
For the full document, click here: https://agportal-s3bucket.s3.amazonaws.com/Perez%20Affidavit.pdf
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