Published November 20, 2012
Dogs, horses seized in raids at Thurston County home improvingCHELSEA KROTZER
The nameless Great Dane was more curious Tuesday about the cookie jar full of treats sitting eye-level on a counter than standing still on a scale at Animal Services. It was time for a weigh-in to see what progress the dog has made since he arrived Nov. 12. The Dane was one of two dogs and seven horses seized from a rural Thurston County property this month because of alleged neglect. Since the seizure, the animals have been in the care of shelters and foster homes. Connie Patterson held on to the dog’s head while a volunteer kept his rear end from walking off the edge of the scale. The 1½-year-old dog weighed in at 90 pounds, about 40 pounds less than what a healthy Great Dane of the same age would weigh. In the week it has been at the shelter, the dog has filled out, even though growth as far as numbers on the scale has been slow going. “The dog is doing fine,” Patterson said. “He is being fed three times a day and having a slow, steady weight gain.” Other than being emaciated, the dog has no obvious signs of illness or disease. It was brought to Animal Services along with a roughly 3-year-old heeler/terrier mix after being seized from a home off Koeppen Road by the Sheriff’s Office. A horse was seized the same day the two dogs were taken, followed by six more horses taken a few days later, said Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Ware. Deputies have been called to the property numerous times about animal neglect, Ware said. After trying to work with the homeowner for several months, police decided to take the next step and seize the animals. “We have made several contacts with the owner and talked to her about the condition of her animals and the care,” Ware said. “It finally got to the point where we weren’t making any progress. … We have made every effort to get her to correct the problem.” The animals were seized during execution of two search warrants – the first Nov. 12 and the second several days later. Ware described the pastures the horses were kept in as “fairly muddy” and “grazed out” with little to no grass for the horses to eat. Of the horses seized, most ranged in body score of 1.5 to 2.5, according to Kathy Bailey, president of Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County. A score of 5 is considered healthy, and 8 or 9 is fat. The seized horses are at foster homes throughout the county, including in Yelm and Rainier. Most of the horses are already making great strides on the road to recovery. “They are eating well and drinking well,” Bailey said. “They have a lot of energy now.” Two of the horses, both stallions, are still thin and depressed, she said. Like the dogs, none of the horses has any obvious signs of illness or disease, Bailey said. “This is just neglect,” she said. “There was no food and no water for some of them. She just hadn’t fed them and was collecting more and more.” Ware said two of the horses were reported stolen. Deputies are working to identify each horse and track down the animal’s previous owners. The case has been forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office for a charging decision.