Washington State Neighbors at War: Dispute Turns Ugly

PHOTO: A dispute between the Harvies and Pepperells in a Washington state neighborhood has erupted into an all-out war resulting in a pet allegedly murdered.
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A dispute between two neighbors in a Washington state neighborhood has erupted into an all-out war resulting in a pet allegedly murdered, ruined careers and an entire police force disbanded.

The Harvies and Pepperells live in a rural area in Snohomish County, north of Seattle.

Gayle Harvie said the quarrel between the two families began six years ago when Caroline Pepperell's son reportedly stole and then crashed one of Harvie's motorcycles.

Harvie said she wanted the Pepperells to pay for damages but they wouldn't.

So she called police.

And that is when the simple dispute escalated.

"My dogs were poisoned with a drug called pentobarbital," said Harvie.

Pentobarbital is a drug used to euthanize animals.

According to Harvie, toxicology tests on a dog toy thrown into her yard prove two of her family's beloved dogs were poisoned when traces of pentobarbital were found.

In response, the Harvies spent $60,000 putting up a 10 camera surveillance system.

A Snohomish County Sheriff's Department investigation was unable to determine who poisoned the dogs, according to the Seattle Times.

So the Harvies hired a private detective who learned that Caroline Pepperell had previously worked as an animal control officer and would have been familiar with pentobarbital.

Pepperell had been fired from a job as an animal control officer.

The Harvies investigated Pepperell further and found that she now worked for the local Sultan Police Department, where they say she used a police computer to look into them.

"She checked out me, my husband, my sons, without a doubt," Harvie said.

Pepperell's boss, the police chief was accused of covering for her and eventually lost his job.

"In my 41 years in law enforcement, I have never seen anything like this," said Fred Walser, former Sultan Police Chief.

Tangled lawsuits were so costly that the tiny Sultan police force eventually disbanded.

Battle Not Over

Pepperell didn't return calls for comment but claims she didn't poison the dogs and that she is the real victim in a recorded court deposition.

"I start getting a ditch full of garbage. Been there 10 years nothing happens. That happens. Nails thrown in my driveway," Pepperell said.

Pepperell lost her case in court and faces a nearly $80,000 judgment for damages.

But the battle isn't over.

Pepperell plans to appeal and after six years of all out war, both sides are waiting to see who blinks first -- and moves.

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