A woman accused of pouring gasoline into a fish pond and damaging property at a Chehalis residence in May is facing felony animal cruelty and malicious mischief charges in Lewis County Superior Court.
Samantha Halverson, 23, of Centralia, is accused of damaging property and pouring gasoline into a fish pond, killing the fish, at a residence on Bunker Creek Road in Chehalis on May 3.
Three children were reportedly inside the house when Halverson arrived and began “yelling and banging on the door and on items on the porch,” according to court documents. The children “became scared and hid inside the residence,” calling their mother to report the incident. The mother contacted law enforcement while she was en route back to the residence. Halverson left the property before the two parties arrived, according to court documents.
A responding deputy with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office observed “multiple damaged (pieces) of property,” including a dent to the house’s main door, a door latch that was damaged from being hit and several damaged planting pots, according to court documents. The mother also reported gasoline had been poured on the lawn.
Two days later, on May 5, the mother called the sheriff’s office to report approximately 31 Japanese fantail and koi fish that the family kept in an outdoor pond had died “in masses.”
Her son reportedly fed them that morning before going to school and came home to find the fish “were all dead and dying,” according to court documents.
Smelling “an odor of gasoline coming from the water,” the family took a sample to a water testing site, which determined there was gasoline in the water.
An expert with Pioneer West Garden & Pet reportedly confirmed it would cost approximately $1,500 to replace the fish, according to court documents.
“(I)n his professional opinion, the koi that were killed in this case suffered a slow painful death,” according to court documents.
Specifically, the expert said gasoline poured into the pond would have caused “irritation and permanent damage” to the fish’s gills, which would “cause the fish to slowly suffocate,” according to court documents.
Halverson was charged with one count each of second-degree animal cruelty and second-degree malicious mischief in Lewis County Superior Court in August.
She was issued a summons notice for a Sept. 27 preliminary hearing, which she was present for virtually from Seattle; but given that the court requires out of custody defendants to appear in-person for preliminary hearings, the hearing was rescheduled to Tuesday, Oct. 4.