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Dog owner charged with cruelty

Dog owner charged with cruelty


The owner of a husky-mix found wandering Deer Park with a collar embedded in his neck has been charged with second-degree animal cruelty and confinement in an unsafe manner Tuesday.

The dog, Nanook, was found Friday, Jan. 25 with a wound around its neck “consistent with a collar or cable being embedded over a long period of time,” according to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. Nancy Hill, executive director for SCRAPS, believes that Nanook was tied around the neck outside “most of the time,” indicating it was unlikely he was hardly ever let off of the tether.

Nanook's owner, Ray L. Lafountain claimed the dog and released it to SCRAPS. Nanook has been adopted by a Spokane resident who reached out through SCRAPS' volunteer network. Hill said Nanook's new owner “can work with the dog's special medical needs.”

“We encourage everyone to fence their yard rather than tethering a dog so this kind of injury doesn't happen,” Hill said.

Hamline announces wide-reaching discipline after alleged assault

Hamline announces wide-reaching discipline after alleged assault


In the wake of felony assault charges stemming from an altercation in a team hotel, Hamline University issued a statement announcing wide-reaching discipline for their men's basketball program.

Eugene Lawrence, a first-year forward from New Orleans, is accused of hitting a woman so hard it broke her jaw on New Year's Eve, when the team was in town for a tournament at Whitworth University. After the young woman returned to consciousness, Lawrence and other members of the team allegedly refused to escort her to the hospital because it was past curfew.

“Eugene Lawrence has been released to the custody of his parents in his home state,” the statement said. “Fourteen students face disciplinary procedures for student handbook violations and team suspensions of varying lengths of time for violating standards set forth in Hamline's athletic code of conduct.”

The statement also said that the team's head coach is suspended indefinitely, and they will be forfeiting the team's scheduled game on Saturday.

Sante targeted by thieves overnight

Sante targeted by thieves overnight


A swanky downtown restaurant fell victim to thieves last night, when their “irreplaceable” antique door and computer system were smashed and their cash register was snatched.

Sante (404 West Main Avenue) will be closed for lunch today and owner Jeremy Hansen says they will re-open around 5 p.m. for dinner. Hansen estimated that about $6,200 of damage was done by the burglars.

Hansen said police believe the thieves had inside knowledge of the restaurant's business operations, due to how fast and precise the job was executed. But Hansen isn't so sure a disgruntled ex- or current-employee was behind the robbery.

“We don't have that issue here,” Hansen said. “I think it was more of a random act of 'I need a couple hundred bucks.' ”

According to Hansen there was about $200 in the cash register and that was all the thieves escaped with. He also said he is planning on adding a security camera and is mulling adding some sort of alarm system.

Rowdy "neighbors" force new downtown restaurant to close

Rowdy "neighbors" force new downtown restaurant to close

Today's Spokesman-Review reports Beignets is closing after just three months in business.  The reason?  Owner Judie Sowards says a group of young homeless people have been harassing diners at the downtown restaurant.

“They have been right across the street from me and literally for the last month they have been chanting, making horrible gestures and noises and just hurting the business horribly,” Sowards said. “We’ve had so many customers say that if this continues they weren’t going to be back and they meant it. Our business has gone down 75 percent.”

Sowards says she understands the kids need someplace to go, but their behavior is costing 34 people their jobs.  To read the full story, click here.

Detectives looking for similar Centennial Trail assaults

Since the recent arrest of a man suspected of attacking a woman on the Centennial Trail last week, detectives with Spokane Police are wondering if there have been similar assaults that have gone unreported.

17-year-old Avondre Graham was arrested on Thursday evening for attacking a woman running along the trail. He swam into the Spokane River and was immediately apprehended by officers.

Detectives are also investigating if Graham is linked to the May murder of another trail recreator Sharlotte McGill who was walking her dog along the Riverton section.

Before McGill died, she was able to tell police the description of her attacker, a black male with a bad eye. 

Detectives ask if anyone else has been a victim of a similar assault, to file a police report via Crime Check: (509) 456-2233.

Spokane Police investigating overnight break-in at Old City Hall

Spokane Police investigating overnight break-in at Old City Hall

Police are investigating an overnight break-in at Old City Hall where vandals broke an elevator and ransacked multiple offices. 

The downtown Spokane building along Wall Street is mostly vacant, but neighborhood resource officers with Spokane Police explained it gets a lot of people going through the building late at night due to multiple access points from staircases, nearby restaurants and River Park Square.

The building’s manager was tipped off to suspicious activity when the elevator was reportedly not working on Thursday morning. When officers arrived, they found a button punched out to keep the elevator in place.

Office employees on the third floor spent their morning cleaning up the mess that the vandals left. Some computers were taken, but the damage is still being assessed.

Officers took away a peppermint bark tin that was left out and plan on brushing it for fingerprints.

Police ombudsman will host national conference in Spokane

Had the Spokane City Council not passed an emergency resolution last month to retain police ombudsman Tim Burns through the end of the year, he would have been out of a job following his contract’s August 24 expiration date.

The city’s Office of Police Ombudsman is now making a big swing at national transparency by hosting the Ombudsman National Conference later this year for other government ombudsmen across the country.

Burns said he applied for the United States Ombudsman Association conference last year and it was not related to his contract issues with the city. Mayor David Condon had originally decided not to renew his three-year contract before the community stepped in. 

“It was a matter of coincidence that things evolved the way they did in Spokane,” Burns said.

The five-day conference addresses ombudsman training and advanced conflict resolution skills which come in handy for handling citizen complaints targeted at local government. Other sessions include discussing the legal issues ombudsmen face and new approaches to measuring fairness in resolutions.