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Two horses seized, one euthanized in Wash. state animal cruelty case

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On Thursday, June 5, KCPQ 13 News reported that two horses and a mule were seized from an Olympia, Washington home. According to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, the animals were victims of animal cruelty - and one of the horses was in such poor condition that he had to be immediately euthanized on-site.

According to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and investigators, this isn't the first time that the animal’s owners have been accused of animal abuse. Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County (HAROTC) is also familiar with these animal owners. According to HAROTC, the animals were seized on May 17, but this isn't the first time an animal has been seized from this property.

Another horse, named Diamond, was seized from the same property in the 9800 block of Dempsey Lane in March. He's one of three animals who are currently evidence in an animal cruelty case.

"We're calling Diamond the old guy or the old one," stated Kathy Bailey, president of HAROTC. According to Bailey, “You can see his neck is really skinny, you can see his shoulder blades here. You can see his ribs. His hips should be nice and rounded.”

The Bellingham Herald reported that the Sheriff's Office received a tip regarding concern for the animals at that property. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office stated that in 2002, five animals were taken from the same residence. Another horse was euthanized in 2012. The animals have been signed over and the owners will not be getting them back.

Authorities are currently reviewing possible animal cruelty charges against this couple, but it is unclear why they have continued to have animals after several prior incidents.

According to Lt. Mike Ware, the case has been referred to the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office. The owners could potentially face felony animal cruelty charges.

In Washington State, felony animal cruelty RCW 16.52.205 is defined as:

(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized in law, he or she intentionally
(a) inflicts substantial pain on,
(b) causes physical injury to, or
(c) kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.

(2) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree when, except as authorized by law, he or she, with criminal negligence, starves, dehydrates, or suffocates an animal and as a result causes:
(a) Substantial and unjustifiable physical pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; or
(b) death.

HAROTC is a 501(c)(3) that provides assistance for hoofed animals who have been impounded by local law enforcement in abuse and neglect cases, pending prosecution.

The organization, which relies solely on donations, is currently asking for assistance to support these rescued animals. According to the Bellingham Herald, the two rescued starving horses and mule are currently in foster homes and need the support of the public to ensure successful rehabilitation. The animals include Diamond, an Appaloosa gelding of unknown age; Paris, a six-year-old Appaloosa mare; and Phoebe, a nine-year-old mule.

To support HAROTC or find out how to help these horses, call them at 360 701 2007 or visit their website here.

You can also send a check to HAROTC, P.O. Box 711, East Olympia, WA, 98540.