Chehalis Couple Runs Rescue for ‘Brutal’ Donkey, Six Dogs and Baby

By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

Meet Bob, the ass who got himself in legal trouble in 2014.

The donkey could be a story all on his own. For Chehalis man Chuck Snipes, 67, Bob was the start of what became a lifelong rescue mission. Today, Snipes and wife Ginny, 65, their 8-month-old adopted baby girl Harmony, four donkeys, and six dogs take up some acreage near Jackson Highway, retired, yet busier than ever on their de-facto rescue farm.

But, for now, we’ll get back to Bob.

In 2014, as reported by The Seattle Times, a King County Superior Court judge required medical attention after being “violently” attacked by her neighbors’ “brutal” donkey.

She had often visited her neighbors’ donkeys to feed them carrots. One day, while walking her dogs, Bob broke down a rotted fence post and picked up one of the dogs with his teeth, The Seattle Times reported.

The judge reportedly punched Bob in the face to save her dog, which prompted the donkey to grab her, lift her off the ground and begin “shaking her like a rag doll,” the lawsuit states.

When the neighbors’ insurance didn’t want to cover the donkey damages, the judge sued.

It’s hard to know for sure what would have happened to Bob if he stayed in King County at the time, Snipes said. In Lewis County, dangerous animals — which have only ever been dogs — have brought their cases in front of a quasi-judicial board of citizens who decide whether or not the animal is guilty. Snipes happens to be the chair of that board.

Once found dangerous, animals are either kept with severe restrictions or are put down. It’s likely King County wouldn’t have any legal precedent for the donkey situation. Nonetheless, his owners wanted him out of the area, Snipes said.

“I loved raising calves and getting them and raising them up. But I hate killing them. I like to eat them, but, you know, I just didn’t like the killing part,” Snipes recalled. “I wanted to raise something else, but I didn’t know what. And I said, ‘Well, how about donkeys?’”

He went on Facebook marketplace and PetFinder, where he discovered Bob. After learning of Bob’s violent history, Snipes was “leery,” he recalled.

“Then when I went and met him, he was chill,” Snipes said.

Donkeys and dogs don’t mix, he said, adding he always kept his “donks and dogs separated.” One day, when Snipes’ 85-pound dog Elvis snuck into the donkey’s enclosure, sure enough, Bob thrashed him around. The dog lived, but needed stitches.

“Donkeys don’t like dogs, it’s pretty well known that they don’t,” Snipes said.

Bob the donkey’s past isn’t the only thing that’s checked. He also has square marks all over his body: Snipes recently gave him a haircut because Bob doesn’t shed in the summer, as most donkeys do.

Over the years, Bob was joined by other rescues. There is Fella, the Shrek donkey-like, short, gray, affectionate ass. Rosie, a shy, white donkey. And Rosie’s companion, CeeCee, a gray donkey who boasts an enormous roll of fat on her neck from being well nourished after years of scarcity.

The Dogs

Sitting on the Dangerous Animal Designation Board and being involved with newly-founded nonprofit Ragamuffin Ranch, a dog rescue on Middle Fork Road, Chuck Snipes has a unique insight into Lewis County’s animal problems.

“I used to go to the animal shelter and do volunteer work. I would pick the least available — well, the least adoptable dog in the shelter, more or less,” Snipes said. “I would pick one out and I would take it for a walk and take pictures of him. And then, I would run, like, a dating profile ad on Facebook.”

Snipes met Ginny on and the two have been married since 2021.

But Boeing the bull terrier was not as enticing online as Ginny, obviously. Snipes posted the dog on Facebook several times, to no avail. Several times, the unusual, white dog was adopted and returned within one day. Eventually, Snipes took him home.

“I’m very dissatisfied with the animal shelter,” Snipes said, noting the lack of space for dogs and a disappointment that the shelter wasn’t collaborating with local rescue nonprofits.

So, in some sense, he became his own.

Today, the Snipes home has six misfit hounds: Boeing the bull terrier, Eva the Anatolian shepherd/mastiff/American bulldog mix, Raven the pit bull, Dudley the dachshund, Buddy the Yorkshire terrier and Brownie the Australian shepherd.

He also walks dogs for Ragamuffin Ranch every day.

The Baby

Snipes’ first wife died of breast cancer. He and Ginny both have children from previous marriages. One daughter, as she put it, “suffers from drugs.” That daughter recently gave birth to Harmony. After 42 days of being carefully weaned off narcotics, the baby went home to Chuck and Ginny.

“Harmony is our greatest rescue yet,” Snipes said, smiling as big as he is able. “We’ve had to jump through some hoops, we had to get our home (certified). But, now we’re a licensed care facility. We’re what they call ‘kinship guardians.’”

Harmony’s adoptive parents have brought her to several behavioral specialist check-ups. Doctors have confirmed Harmony has no noticeable developmental issues, Ginny said. When she was born, though, the baby had an Apgar score of four out of 10. Ten being the best, the score measures activity, pulse, grimace, appearance and respiration. Two minutes later, Harmony was scoring a two.

“She nearly died a couple times that first day,” Snipes said.

As the duo told this story, Harmony, a brown-eyed, chunky baby bounced in their arms, drooling, smiling and making lots of noise. Some day, Ginny would love to see Harmony reunited with her mother. In the meantime though, the couple has vowed to care for her, despite their recognition that they may not live into the baby’s adulthood.

Another one of Ginny’s daughters, a registered nurse in Centralia, will also have a role in Harmony’s life.

“Out of all the women I’ve ever met, all but a couple of them were abused or neglected in some way. And I just want her to reach maturity without ever being abused or neglected. That’s my goal,” Snipes said, later adding, “I’d rather do this in my retirement than go to Florida. I really would. This is something very meaningful.

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