Carolyn and Debbie Lattin, the mother and daughter behind Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm, pleaded not guilty to second-degree animal cruelty and were released on their own recognizance during an arraignment hearing Monday before Thurston County District Court Judge Brett Buckley.
Second-degree animal cruelty is a gross misdemeanor. The Lattins now have a pre-trial meeting set for Aug. 24.
The Lattins were surrounded by supporters in court Monday. They are alleged to have failed to provide shelter, sanitation and medical attention to address hoof rot in their goats.
A complaint last month triggered a Thurston County Sheriff’s Office investigation, which ultimately led to the seizure of 18 goats that were later placed in the care of Hooved Animal Rescue.
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After the county’s prosecuting attorney read aloud the probable cause statement and the judge found probable cause for a count each of second-degree animal cruelty on Monday, the court set conditions for release.
The prosecutor asked that the Lattins “have no ownership of hooved animals.”
The Lattins’ attorney, Justin Kover, quickly balked at that suggestion, saying the Lattins have successfully operated a longtime petting zoo. He also said at the time of the goat seizure, the sheriff’s office lead animal cruelty investigator, Deputy Carrie Nastansky, elected to leave some goats behind.
The prosecutor quickly withdrew the request.
Still, Buckley wanted more information about how the condition of the existing goats on the farm will be checked in the future.
“I have concerns for the health of those animals,” he said.
He suggested that Nastansky or a veterinarian could visit the farm again.
Kover said the animals are under the care of a Lewis County-based veterinarian. “We would be more than happy to file a monthly report,” he said.
After the arraignment, Debbie Lattin addressed about 10 supporters outside the courtroom.
“We just love the fact that we have such great support in this community,” she said. “It makes us feel so, so wonderful to know everybody is standing behind us in this really hard time. We will be proven innocent.”