A British man arrested at a compound near Sumas, Wash., last month after he was seen on film sexually abusing large-breed dogs pleaded guilty to first-degree animal abuse Tuesday.
Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced Stephen Clarke, 51, to 30 days in jail, which he is almost done serving.
Snyder also ordered him to pay $1,000 to the Whatcom Humane Society, which has taken custody of the dogs, and to have no contact with any dog.
Once Clarke is released from jail, he may be deported to Britain or the federal government may place a hold on him and send him to a detention facility, Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said.
Clarke was arrested April 14 after federal agents raided the compound that they believe was used in an operation that allowed people to sexually abuse animals.
They seized a videotape that included footage of Clarke’s abuse and also arrested the alleged leader of the operation, Douglas Spink.
Spink has been charged with violating conditions of his probation for a cocaine-dealing conviction from 2005.
Clarke’s documented criminal behavior at the compound may be evidence of a probation violation that prosecutors can use against Spink, so the federal government may delay Clarke’s deportation, McEachran said.
Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, said she wasn’t sure if her office would be delaying his deportation.
A representatives of the U.S. Probation Department did not return a call seeking comment.
McEachran said Clarke was facing a standard-range sentence of one to three months, but he opted to join Clarke’s attorney, Tom Fryer, in recommending a one-month sentence to Snyder.
McEachran said he did so because he wanted to free up space in the county jail and spare money that would be used prosecuting Clarke further.
“I just wanted to get rid of him,” McEachran said. “I didn’t want to clog up our jail with this guy. This is a problem that is born of another country.”