Local beloved elk gets coated in paint

Local beloved elk gets coated in paint

CLE ELUM, Wash.- A local elk who people in Cle Elum call Buttons has been living in the area for several years now. She travels door to door throughout the year to say hello to neighbors around the area.

One of those neighbors, Douglas Philbrick, met Buttons last year. Last time he encountered her, he saw something wrong.

"A week ago last Saturday, the Habitat For Humanity was painting a house in our neighborhood here. On Tuesday I noticed Buttons had paint on her," said Philbrick.

She had a reddish color of toxic paint that formed into a tar-like coat all over her body, nose and eyes.

"She's scraping her nose on my pack on the back of my ATV and she also was scraping her nose on the hard plastic fenders and just whimpering," said Philbrick.

Philbrick says the paint could be life-threatening.

"People at PETA said that she won't be able to thermal regulate when it's stuck like that because the way that their hair structure is, it's hollow. If it's getting clogged up with paint, and she can't get any insulating factor out of it, she's going to get cold and she might die," said Philbrick.

A neighbor he was with that day says he recognized the specific color on her fur.

"Our local water operator blurted out 'oh that's the exact same color as the new Habitat house,'" said Philbrick.

Philbrick says there has been many reasons behind how the paint got on Buttons, but the stories weren't matching up.

"I walked every square foot of that lot at the habitat house. I did not see any spill marks, I did not see any splashes up against the house like if she knocked over a scaffold or something like that. It was that time I knew I had to do something about this because someone needs to held responsible and accountable for this," said Philbrick.

Philbrick sent pictures to a professional painter with over 35 years of experience who says its clear someone did this. His mission now is to get Buttons off the streets and find her a safe home.

"Buttons has had benefactors in her life that's helped her along the way, she would be dead, she never would have made it. But I think now its my turn to help Buttons and hopefully find her a good home but at least get her healthy, make her safe, and bring whoever did this to accountability," said Philbrick.

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