Time for some clarifications regarding NO Paws, lawsuit

Editorial Gary MugI’ve decided to use my column this week to clarify some information in two of last week’s articles that turned out to be mostly correct, but not entirely so.

First of all, NO Paws Left Behind had their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approved, but only provided they met all 15 conditions. Those conditions, at least at the time of this printing, had not been fulfilled. So, the animal rescue and dog kennel can not take in new dogs, according to county planner Perry Huston who we contacted for a clarification.

“As is the case with most conditional use permits there are conditions that must be met before they can begin operations. This one is a bit different in that they were operating under a compliance plan during the permit review. In this case they are still operating under the modified cease and desist order until they demonstrate compliance with the conditions of approval for the CUP. So at this point they cannot take in any more dogs. They can continue to take care of the dogs in place and engage in any activities that reduce the number of dogs on the premises. They cannot operate as a commercial kennel until I have determined they have met the conditions on the permit.”

Her neighbors, members of the Ellis family, came in to let us know our error and we are always willing to make corrections to make sure that the true story gets out. They also said while Richards had brought a harassment petition before the court, as she said in last week’s issue, the court had denied it due to lack of sufficient evidence. This was evidenced by the copies of the court documents. There is still a court date set. Superior Court Judge Henry Rawson, has written, “The matter is more likely to be filed as an easement case (be civil in nature).”

We feel for the parties on both sides of this issue and admire Richards for her work in caring for and placing animals that need a home with good families. We also understand that several years back, when Richard and Mary Ellis gave Richards an easement after she sold the property that had her access to the property above, it was unlikely that they would have expected to see so many vehicles going up and down the road next to their home every day. Now neighbors, who were once friends are in a bitter battle over who is most on the side of right.

The other article in question, also involves the county, this time over the Juvenile Detention Center. While our county commissioners have decided to not ship our juveniles off to Medical Lake or Chelan County for housing, the lawsuit brought against them and the county, has not been dropped. A special attorney was appointed by the state AG’s office on behalf of Superior Court Judges Hank Rawson and Christopher Culp, along with Dennis Rabidou, Superior Court and Juvenile Department Administrator. The suit sought judicial intervention to stop what they claimed were improper acts by the commissioners that violate the Separation of Powers Doctrine and interfere with the court’s authority and constitutional responsibility. The commissioners’ decision to keep the juvenile facilities will not end further legal proceedings as we stated last week, according to Judge Culp.

“The BOCC decision to keep detention open in no way involves the lawsuit we recently filed. There are totally different issues and the lawsuit will continue on,” writes Judge Culp in an email to us Tuesday.

We regret the misinformation in those two front page articles last week – we based it on what we thought we were told and we hope this attempt to set the record straight is satisfactory to all parties involved.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.