Former Tri-Cities Animal Shelter director “shocked, dismayed” by pet mistreatment

PASCO, Wash. — Previous employees at the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter are still reeling after dozens of sick dogs and cats were rescued following a search warrant conducted by Pasco police.

One of those members is former director Angela Zilar, who worked there from April 2007 to March 2019.

“That was my pride and joy,” Zilar said. “It was all of our goals, everybody that worked that shelter, to make it a place the community could be proud of and the animals could be safe and cared for.”

Zilar said she felt “shocked and dismayed” when she heard the news about the state of the animals.

“The ultimate responsibility falls on the director. That is their position to know everything that has happened and all the inner workings of that shelter,” Zilar said. “It’s not that big and you don’t have that many employees. There’s no way that you would not know that stuff has happened if you had all the protocols in place to make sure that it didn’t happen.”

Pasco Police Sgt. Rigo Pruneda said that TCAS director Rebecca Howard and the Neo’s Nation Animal Foundation manager Julie Chambers had their operating contracts terminated immediately following the warrant.

Zilar, who has national cruelty investigation certifications and training, said what happens next depends on if officials are charging on the City of Pasco’s municipal code or the state’s RCW.

“If they chose to charge the Pasco municipal code versus the state RCW then the penalties are less. It was willful, it was obvious. I mean I can get second-degree if they walk in and a cat had come in, for instance, two days before sick and it was found dying two days later,” Zilar said. “But if the evidence that they have presents that an animal came in perfectly healthy and over a long period of time suffered then that is neglect, it is abuse because there are things that you can put in place that prevent that from happening.”

Howard is set to appear in Pasco Municipal Court on December 14 at 1 p.m.

View the City of Pasco’s municipal code for animal cruelty here under 6.05.150.

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