On Wednesday, Feb. 20, KOMO 4 News reported on the animals rescued from a Centralia, Wash. property this week in response to concerns that they were slaughter-bound. According to Nick Cockrell, president of the Washington State Livestock Coalition, the animals are available for adoption and are not related to any horse slaughter enterprises.
After two dozen horses and 50 goats were rescued from 665 Tietzel Road outside of Centralia, Wash., the owner of the animals was accused of animal cruelty. But further concerns soon arose on Facebook when people discussed the potential for horse slaughter. The association of a known kill buyer, Sam Slusher, added to peoples' fears.
The Washington State Livestock Coalition had volunteered to assist with the large-scale animal rescue.
"The horses are not being listed on any 'slaughter-related' website," Nick Cockrell explained on Feb. 21.
"You may find information on this website, which includes photos of some of the horses. The site was developed and is maintained by volunteers who are attempting to rehome horses that may be in a kill-pen, or otherwise available for re-homing."
Cockrell understands why readers fear that this animal cruelty case may be associated with horse slaughter - but hopes to assure people that the Coalition is only seeking homes for the horses.
"I assume that because this site mentions 'kill-pen', some may jump to conclusion that any horse listed is destined for slaughter," Cockrell stated.
"This assumption is simply not true as the mission of the folks running the website to protect these animals and to assist in finding new homes. Monies collected are put back into maintaining the web site and other expenses," he added.
The involvement of Sam Slusher, who does purchase horses to take to slaughter, still leaves many in the animal rescue community uneasy.
"They think that just because I get a horse I automatically take them to kill," he told KOMO 4 News.
Slusher indicated that he was only helping with the animal rescue and that he wanted to get the horses out of a bad situation.
"We had the horses examined late yesterday, and the large animal veterinarian agreed that most of the horses can be placed into homes," Cockrell added.
"Generally, these horses are available as early as Monday of next week.
"We've already run up substantial financial obligations, and adoption charges are intended to reimburse these costs, and to hopefully generate a few dollars to expand our hay bank, emergency feed program, as well as educational and other activities of the Coalition."
Cockrell assures readers that the Coalition only wants to help these animals.
"Our intention in this overall effort is focused on appropriate care for livestock, and education or temporary assistance to owners," he explained.
"Those who are skeptics may have their own reasons to do so, but it certainly detracts from the success in removing the animals from a deplorable condition."
The horses are available for adoption on auctionhorses.org. Adoption fees, which range from $200 to $400, are intended to defray the costs involved with their rescue.
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
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