Paw Spa owner Michelle Burt now facing 12 animal cruelty charges
PASCO, Wash. — Pasco pet groomer Michelle Burt is now facing nine new charges of animal cruelty in Franklin County.
Burt, owner of Paw Spa on Road 68, was initially charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty in August 2018 for allegedly abusing customers’ pets.
On Tuesday, prosecutors tacked on another eight charges of felony animal cruelty and one charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after learning her case would be going to trial.
“Typically, I charge what I’m willing to offer as a resolution in the case rather than charging everything potentially available,” said Prosecutor Laura Mapes. “But if the case goes to trial, then I charge whatever I believe I can prove.”
Burt is now facing a total of 12 animal cruelty charges following an investigation into her business practices.
Prosecutors say Burt is responsible for the death of two pets and caused numerous injuries to animals including a broken leg, chemical burns, hemorrhaging, seizures and popped blood vessels.
Witnesses said she hit and strangled customers’ pets to “dominate” them, leading some of the animals to seize up or pass out, according to court documents.
Burt’s trial is scheduled to begin on May 29.
The incidents took place between December 2015 and July 2018. Here is a timeline of the alleged crimes, according to the prosecutor’s office:
December 2015 – Michelle Burt caused suffering to a pet, which led the animal to have breathing issues and eventually die.
Between April 2016 and May 2017 – Burt threw a dog above her head and let it hit the ground, causing it to seize.
August 2016 – Burt strangled an animal, causing a bulbar hemorrhage.
September 2016 – Burt injured an animal, causing it to seize. The animal was in pain for an extended period of time.
October 2016 – Burt gave a flea bath to a cat without the owner’s permission, leaving the animal with chemical burns and open sores.
July 2017 – Burt caused a dog to fall out of a tub, resulting in a broken leg.
December 2017 – Burt injured an animal, causing it to have extremely red eyes and salivate profusely.
Between February 2018 and June 2018 – Burt “hammer hit” a dog on top of the head multiple times with a closed fist, causing it to start seizing
March 2018 – Burt caused animal’s left eye to be red and swollen, and popped blood vessels.
June 2018 – Burt injured an animal, causing its left eye to be red and swollen.
July 2018 – Burt gave a flea bath to a cat without the owner’s permission, leaving the animal with chemical burns and open sores.
July 2018 – Burt caused an animal to be unable to walk or stand on its own for several hours.