Thurston County District Court Judge Sam Meyer handed down his sentence Tuesday in the goat abuse case against Carolyn and Debbie Lattin, the two operators of Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm on Rich Road.
The Lattins were convicted of a count each of second-degree animal cruelty following a four-day jury trial in December. The Lattins were charged with the gross misdemeanor after 18 goats were seized from their farm in mid-June because they were suffering from hoof rot, also known as hoof scald.
Meyer heard from Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Lippert for the state and defense attorney Justin Kover before passing his sentence, telling the courtroom he was particularly moved by video evidence showing the goats limping, and witnesses who said the hoof rot was so bad that some goats had to walk on their knees.
“They could not put their weight on their own feet,” he said.
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As a result, Meyer decided on the following:
- No jail time for the Lattins — all of it was suspended — but they will have to forfeit the 18 goats and are banned from owning goats or similar animals for two years.
- The Lattins will have to pay about $6,700 in restitution to Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County, an organization that cared for the goats after they were seized, and each will have to pay a civil penalty of $1,000.
- They also will be subject to quarterly inspections by the Thurston County Sheriff’s animal cruelty team to make sure they are complying with the animal ban.
After the sentencing, Lippert explained that “similar animals” includes sheep, deer, cattle, bison, llama, alpaca and antelope. He also said the civil penalties will be paid toward animal cruelty prevention.
Despite the sentencing terms, the Lattins remained defiant when they were allowed to address the court.
Debbie Lattin accused the prosecution and some witnesses — including sheriff’s Deputy Carrie Nastansky, who investigated the hoof rot complaints — of being liars. Carolyn Lattin said they have always cared for their goats, and consulted many about how to treat hoof rot, but she believes it is incurable.
The issue of goat abuse and the Lattin’s farm may not be over yet.
Debbie Lattin said she supports appealing the conviction, and attorney Kover said after Tuesday’s sentencing that he plans to appeal it to Thurston County Superior Court.