For the last few weeks, Boyes Hot Springs resident William Tinker has been a prominent fixture in downtown, driving a decaled van, handing out flyers and warning anyone who’ll listen – the world is ending, the rapture is coming.
Most took little notice of Tinker’s adherence to the belief that Saturday, May 21 will bring about the end of the world in a doomsday display of fire and brimstone, until he announced to neighbors that he plans to euthanize his animals before the big one hits.
“Somebody has got to do something,” said Marti Bryant, Tinker’s neighbor who has lived in the area since 1989.
Bryant heard rumors of Tinker's plans through neighbors, but declined to take action until he informed her last Friday the rumors were true, he was making plans to kill his pets before the end of the world.
Tinker could not be reached for comment Thursday, despite several visits to his property.
Neighbors say Tinker's menagerie includes several cats and two birds.
“We’ve talked to family members, friends of his – it’s just falling on deaf ears – everyone is saying they can’t do anything,” said Bryant, adding one neighbor had snatched one of Tinker’s cats, to save them from death.
Tinker made two trips Thursday to , changing his shirt in between visits to disguise his identity, asking in a matter-of-fact tone to purchase euthanasia tools to prevent his pets from suffering in Saturday’s quake.
“I basically said we can’t help you with what you are about to do, because it goes against any ethics that we have,” said Elisa Dodge, head of client services at Arroyo.
Residents place several calls with animal control and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department; neighbors have complained about the property, which is surrounded by debris and rotting garbage.
Police were dispatched Thursday to Tinker’s residence, after multiple calls from neighbors. Though Tinker explained his plans clearly to police, legally, authorities were not able to intervene.
“Unless there’s an abused animal that we see, there’s nothing we can do,” said Sgt. Chris Bertoli.
California laws prevent animal abuse or a cruel execution style death; but threats of death bear no legal consequence, and Tinker is within his legal rights if he euthanizes his animals in the proper environment of a vet’s office, said Bertoli.
Additionally, Tinker said he intends to wait until the earthquakes hit Denver before he starts killing his pets, according to Bertoli.
But such logic leaves little comfort for animal lovers and neighbors.
“They’re collateral damage and I don’t think they should be,” said Bryant. “I don’t think people in this day and age should be allowed to murder their animal, I just don’t.”