On the first day of the Carolyn and Debbie Lattin animal cruelty trial, attorneys made their pitch to jurors, discussing the evidence they would provide in the coming days to prove their respective cases.
The Lattins, who operate Lattins Country Cider Mill and Farm on Rich Road, have been charged with second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor. Eighteen goats were seized from their farm in June, reportedly showing signs of hoof rot. The two women have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Defense attorney Justin Kover provided a history of the farm and how Carolyn and her husband planted roots in the area in 1956. He also said that their daughter, Debbie Lattin, has been the mother to the farm animals as farm manager. Not only has she taken care of goats, but also pigs, chickens and turkeys, he said.
“The Lattins have loved their goats always,” he said.
Kover said the evidence will show that the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office had access to their veterinarian records before the animals were seized, and sought more records after the fact.
“The evidence will show (the Lattins) have provided all the medical attention, necessary and possible, to their goats,” he said.
Kover said Debbie Lattin will take the stand to talk about what she did for the goats, and how she called veterinarians to deal with the goats’ hoof conditions.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Lippert also talked about the farm and how it works, and how the goats on the farm are used as an attraction. But he said in the past two years, there have been a number of complaints about the goats because they could be seen limping around the farm.
He said that led Deputy Carrie Nastansky, who is part of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office animal cruelty team, to investigate the complaint. Lippert said she followed the law: She responded to a complaint, conducted an investigation and sought a seizure warrant from a judge. That investigation found 18 of 31 goats had hoof scald, sometimes referred to as hoof rot.
“No doubt the Lattins knew about these problems and failed to remedy the problems for a significant period of time, resulting in the June seizure of the animals,” Lippert told the jury.
He added: “The lack of action caused one or more of the goats to suffer unnecessary, unjustifiable pain, a gross deviation from a standard of care that a reasonable person who owned goats would have done in that situation.”