These buffalo were cared for by Center Valley Animal Rescue after being brought from a Chimacum property. (Center Valley Animal Rescue)

These buffalo were cared for by Center Valley Animal Rescue after being brought from a Chimacum property. (Center Valley Animal Rescue)

Mistrial called on animal cruelty charges in Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — A high-profile animal cruelty case is likely to be retried after a jury deadlocked, said the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Dennis “Denver” L. Shoop, 73, is accused of allowing a herd of bison to starve in Chimacum.

Shoop also has been charged with felony attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and bail jumping — after he left the courtroom while the animal cruelty trial was in session on Feb. 6 and fled from police, said Julie St. Marie, Jefferson County chief deputy prosecuting attorney.

Trial on those charges is set for May 6, she said.

A mistrial was called in the animal cruelty case on Feb. 11. St. Marie said the jury was deadlocked on all eight charges and as well as eight lesser counts of animal cruelty in the second degree after almost two days of deliberation.

“The court offered to resolve the case but will try him again,” St. Marie said. “His next court date will be set on Friday.”

Drivers had reported last spring to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that they had seen a dead animal and several emaciated bison on Shoop’s property. Seven animals were removed to the Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene for care April 25.

Rescue director Sarah Penhallegon said if the state wins the trial, the bison will be surrendered for care to the hospital and eventually transferred to an animal sanctuary in Texas.

On Feb. 6, while his Superior Court trial was in session, Shoop rose from his seat and announced he wanted to see his doctor and left the building.

Judge Keith Harper issued an arrest warrant when Shoop did not return, and Port Townsend Police and Jefferson County Sheriff deputies began the search for his vehicle.

They initially found him across from Jefferson Healthcare hospital on Sheridan Street where he pleaded with authorities to “shoot him,” then fled.

He was next encountered at the intersection of Mill and Discovery Roads where he ran a red light and continued toward Chimacum. He did not stop for authorities who pursued his vehicle with lights and sirens. He was not speeding, deputies said.

Shoop drove through the Chimacum Corner Farmstand parking lot to find deputies had blocked the intersection. Shoop’s car was bumped, causing him to lose control. He was arrested and taken to Jefferson Healthcare to be checked out, then released to authorities and booked into the Jefferson County jail.

He was no longer listed on the jail roster as of Saturday.


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at