Bestiality bust ensnares millionaire-turned-smuggler
Published Friday, April 16, 2010 4:45PM PDT
A convicted cocaine smuggler has been arrested for running what authorities say appears to be a bestiality farm in Washington state in which visitors could engage in all sorts of twisted sex acts with animals.
Douglas Spink was arrested at his ramshackle, heavily wooded compound near the Canadian border along with a 51-year-old tourist from Great Britain who is accused of having sex with three dogs.
Dozens of dogs, horses and pet mice were seized, along with what investigators described as thousands of images of bestiality and apparent child pornography. The mice were euthanized, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo, whose office assisted federal agents in the case.
"This stuff is just truly bizarre," he said. "These were mice that had their tails cut off, they were smothered in Vaseline and they had string tied around them."
It wasn't immediately clear whether other zoophilic tourists had been to Spink's farm, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Roe said Friday, "I expect there may have been other people visiting the property."
Spink has not been charged with any bestiality or child porn charges at this point, only with violating the terms of his supervised release. Stephen Clarke of Peterborough, England, was arrested on state charges for allegedly abusing the dogs.
Spink's lawyer, Howard Phillips, insisted there's no evidence his client violated the terms of his release. "There's no hard evidence he's been engaging in bestiality at all," Phillips said.
Spink, who has a history of training and breeding dogs and horses, appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday and was ordered detained pending another hearing, set for April 30. He calls his operation Exitpoint Stallions Limitee and expounds at length on its Web site about his philosophy.
"Are we unconventional in our approach to stallion care? Absolutely," he writes.
He later adds: "We don't wall off sexual energy in our stallions as something dangerous or inappropriate, but rather channel that energy towards positive, safe, appropriate paths. There's a proper time and place for it, and we work towards those sorts of skills rather than fighting un-winnable fights against deeply-rooted instincts."
Spink, 39, made a fortune in Oregon buying and selling small companies in the 1990s and was known as an adrenaline junkie, listing rockclimbing and base-jumping off cliffs, radio towers and bridges among his hobbies.
But by 2002 his wealth had evaporated. He filed for bankruptcy as creditors sought millions from him, and he began running cocaine and marijuana across the border for a local drug kingpin.
Spink was arrested in 2005 after investigators pulled him over with a load of nearly 375 pounds (170 kilograms) of cocaine, valued at $34 million. He was given a lenient, three-year sentence because of his extensive co-operation with investigators.
Since then, he has been on a five-year term of supervised release, during which time he must abide by all state, local and federal laws.
Under Washington law, it's illegal to assist others in engaging in bestiality -- and breaking any state law would be a violation of Spink's release, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Authorities searched his farm Wednesday after prosecutors received a tip from a public defender's office in Tennessee. The office reported that Spink had been calling them incessantly about a jailed defendant in a bestiality case in Tennessee.
That man, James Michael Tait, had previously admitted filming a man having sex with a horse in Washington state in 2005. The man Tait filmed died of internal injuries suffered during the incident. He received a minor sentence in the case because Washington had relatively weak bestiality laws at the time.
It's not immediately clear why Spink was calling Tennessee about the Tait case.
When agents searched Spink's home, they found a video of a man sexually abusing dogs -- and that man, Clarke, was still on the property, wearing the same clothes as in the video, Elfo said. He was charged with animal cruelty and made an initial appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court on Thursday.
Clarke was given a court-appointed defence lawyer for that appearance only and otherwise does not yet have an attorney.
Roe said Friday that Clarke had admitted his involvement to investigators.