Whatcom County man arrested in animal cruelty case

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on April 15, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Updated Friday, May 7 at 10:39 AM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Federal agents uncover a bizarre sex operation in Whatcom County that involves animals and a business that has attracted people from all over the world.

In a crudely built compound tucked into the backwoods near the Canadian border, federal investigators say crimes were happening that are too disturbing to describe.

Under the blue tarps they say people from around the world would stay as sex tourists invited to abuse animals.

Among them is 51-year-old Stephen Clarke visiting from England on a month-long trip to the U.S.

He now sits in the Whatcom County Jail on three counts of cruelty to animals in the form of bestiality.

Kelli and Ron McDonald had no idea such activity was happening on their rural road, but they say there always seemed to be traffic.

"There is a lot of trucks up and down, but we didn't know anything about that," said Ron.

"I'm shocked," said Kelli. "Whoever the guy is, lock him up and get him out of here."

U.S. probation officers raided the compound looking for Douglas Spink who is suspected of running the operation and maintaining a Web site displaying home video of sexual abuse against animals.

Spink, a once millionaire businessman, was on parole for felony drug charges from 2005. He was convicted of transporting hundreds of pounds of cocaine through Snohomish County and served three years.

"You'd think you've seen it all in 36 years," said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.

He says dozens of horses and dogs were seized from the compound. Some of them were so injured they had to be euthanized.

"This shows there is something new that is shocking even to law enforcement," he said.

But this case could be even more widespread. Investigators are searching through home video taken from the compound, which could result in additional arrests.

Douglas Spink will appear in a Seattle courtroom Friday morning. He is accused of violating his parole.
It is not clear what other charges he'll face.

Animal cruelty is now a felony offense in Washington state.

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