PORT TOWNSEND — The defendant in an ongoing animal cruelty case asked a judge to replace his court-appointed attorney, but the request in Jefferson County Superior Court was denied.
Denver Lee Shoop, 73, was adamant with Judge Keith Harper on Friday that he was not being properly represented. He claimed to have documentation and continued to ask Harper to remove attorney Jake Range of Jefferson Associated Counsel.
“Mr. Range has done everything he can to adequately and appropriately defend you,” Harper said.
Shoop eventually stopped arguing when Harper pointed out two Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies who were approaching from behind.
Shoop is charged with eight counts of animal cruelty for each of the bison he kept on his Chimacum property. Each charge carries a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
The bison were found to be emaciated and taken from Shoop’s property in April 2018 for emergency care.
Range was appointed to represent Shoop from the beginning of the case. A mistrial was declared Feb. 11 when the jury deadlocked on all eight counts.
County prosecutors chose to retry the case. Friday’s status conference set new trial dates of Oct. 7-10 and Oct. 14-17, if necessary.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie argued the case should be tried in August, but Harper last week allowed the defense additional time to investigate, including at Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene, where the bison were taken for care.
Range said he wants to visit the site and document his findings.
“I’ve spoken with Center Valley and don’t see it as obstinance on their part,” St. Marie said.
Another issue is how the animals would be examined. St. Marie said she’s concerned that using an anesthetic could be potentially harmful or even result in the death of the bison.
“The first step is to get out to the property and survey it,” Range said.
Similar comments from both attorneys on July 5 led to Harper saying he was at his “wits’ end” with the case.
“Right now, I would not see arguments that would lead me to grant another continuance,” Harper said Friday.
He referenced a July 10 story in the Peninsula Daily News about mountain goats being shot with darts and removed from the Olympic National Park to the North Cascades and was concerned about how the anesthetic might affect the animals.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].