According to the Pasco Municipal Code, it carries with it a gross misdemeanor charge.


The gross misdemeanor charge concerning animal cruelty in the 2nd Degree can be punished with up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Rebecca Howard, who was fired from her job overseeing the Tri-City Animal Shelter on "A" Street in Pasco was charged in court Wednesday. She and Manager Justin Hernandez were relieved of their duties after an investigation showed mistreatment of the animals.

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For a number of months, reports came in, including photos and other evidence, that the animals at the shelter were being mistreated. At least one dog is said to have died from kidney failure.  A number of animals are still being treated for significant issues.

The Benton Franklin Humane Society has taken over operations of the shelter, and the City's contract with Howard and her organization was terminated following allegations she and the group misappropriated funds meant for the shelter. This included fraudulent use of a nearly half-million-dollar donation from the estate of the late Thomas Ashby meant to help the animals.

There's also been evidence that Howard might have been euthanizing animals herself, as a former worker told Police she'd ordered Lidocaine which can be used for that purpose.

Howard will appear in Pasco Municipal Court to face the charges.


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