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Skamania County Prosecutor Determines Animal Cruelty Charges Are Appropriate In Dillingham Case

August 7, 2013

Joint Media Release

Skamania County Prosecutor and Sheriff


The Skamania County Prosecutors Office has determined that the death of the dog in the Christopher Dillingham case does meet the elements necessary for the charge of animal cruelty in the State of Washington.  Dillingham was arrested on Sunday morning by Skamania County Sheriff’s deputies and booked on several charges including animal cruelty.  While choosing not to file the animal cruelty charges at the time of Dillingham’s first appearance in court on Monday, prosecutors continued researching case law and the Washington State statutes with regards to animal cruelty.   Late Monday evening, the prosecutor’s office determined the actions of Mr. Dillingham met the elements of the law and the charge of animal cruelty could be supported.  The decision to file the additional charge was made and will occur at Dillingham’s next court appearance.

“There has been a considerable amount of public reaction to both the actions of Dillingham and the initial decision to delay filing the animal cruelty charge,” said Skamania County Prosecutor Adam Kick.  “While we understand the reaction of the public to the horrific manner in which the dog died, we felt the initial delay in filing the animal cruelty charges was necessary to research the law and determine whether the factual allegations met the specific elements of the animal cruelty statute.  Such delays are common and it is often the case that additional charges are filed when we have met the legal and ethical standards required by the criminal justice system.  Part of taking crime seriously is taking the time to make good, considered charging decisions.  That’s what we did here.”

Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown said he believes the Prosecutor’s actions were appropriate in further evaluating the statutes.  “While we arrested and booked Mr. Dillingham on the charge of animal cruelty, I can understand the reasoning behind the decision to delay initially charging that crime,” said Brown.  Brown went on to say that he can understand the emotional response from people all over the world.  The Sheriff believes his deputies did an outstanding job investigating this case and appreciates the assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well.  “We have all been diligent in our efforts involving this case from the initial response to the arrest to the actual charging by the Prosecutor.  We will continue to investigate information in this case and, when appropriate, we will confer with the prosecutor in order to ensure that our communities are safe and that all appropriate charges have been addressed.


Dave Brown, Sheriff                                                              Adam Kick, Prosecutor

Skamania County                                                                    Skamania County