A Facebook campaign helped rescue 24 horses from a property east of Centralia, Washington. KOMO 4 News reported on Monday, February 18 that the horse rescue began after a dead horse was found alongside the road.
Animal lovers, including the Washington State Livestock Coalition, used Facebook to spread the word about the need for a rescue. The Washington State Livestock Coalition accompanied the sheriff’s office when animal cruelty accusations were investigated.
While the sheriff's office looked for signs of animal cruelty and neglect, the Washington State Livestock Coalition spoke with the horse owner, convincing him to give them more than 4 dozen animals. In addition to rescuing the 24 horses, the coalition also rescued 30 goats.
While the rescued animals exhibited signs of malnutrition, they are currently receiving care.
"My first thing was to think, 'If it's a dead horse there and a bunch of horses that are not being fed well, why do they still have the horses?'" said animal lover Amanda Sanders.
According to The Chronicle, the owners, Gerald D. Specht and Wendy S. Specht, were referred for animal cruelty in the second degree. According to the Lewis County Prosecutor's Office, a code enforcement officer inspected the property last week. Animal cruelty in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
The Spechts have recently experienced hardship; their home burned down and they currently live in a tent. Specht told KOMO news that it wasn’t his intention for the animals to go hungry.
"They were always fed. They were fed daily. (I had) just too many of them, I guess," he stated.
The Washington State Livestock Coalition, which was instrumental in the rescue, was formed in 2009 to address the issues that livestock owners face. Their website states that they will
"work to educate owners on the proper care of animals, to protect owners from needless prosecution and to provide temporary assistance in those situations where timely support can help the owner through a tough period."
On Monday night, the Washington State Livestock Coalition posted the following message to Facebook:
Message from Nick – Washington State Livestock Coalition President
First and foremost, thank you for the support and questions about the recent removal of horses and goats from a property in Lewis County.
After being contacted by the Lewis County Sheriff’s office, the coalition agreed to assist because other resources were unavailable. Although the coalition does not provide this type of assistance, they agreed to investigation the possible safe removal of horses and goats from the property.
If it was feasible to remove the horses and goats, they would also assist with this effort and coordinate the removal.
Although the coalition provided support, they did not take possession of the horses or goats.
They only assisted with the removal and transport. The horses were taken to a holding facility where they can be evaluated by a veterinarian. If the veterinarian determines the horses can be re-homed, they will be placed within 30-60 days.
If the horses have debilitating injuries or illness, they will be euthanized in Washington State. They will NOT be shipped out of the Washington State and sent to another country for slaughter. The goats were also removed the property and may be available for adoption.
The coalition will continue the coordination of conversation with the Sheriff’s office and assist as appropriate.
At this time, there are no further details to share. As more information becomes available, it will be shared.
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
"Like" this column to help share it with others!
If you would like to continue to receive important information, features, and news related to pets in Seattle and beyond, please click the "Subscribe" icon located at the top of this column. It's free, convenient, and anonymous!
You can also find the Seattle Pets Examiner on Facebook!