Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy Carrie Nastansky, the lead deputy for the department’s animal cruelty team, testified late Monday that she presented Carolyn and Debbie Lattin with four options before their goats were seized from their farm in mid-June.
She said the Lattins refused all options, including one that asked the Lattins to simply move the goats to another drier area of their property.
Nastansky, who testified for the prosecution, took the stand Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning in the Lattins goat-abuse trial, which started Monday and could wrap up by Thursday.
The Lattins operate the well-known Lattins Country Cider Mill and Farm on Rich Road. In June, following a series of complaints, 18 of 31 goats were seized from the farm after they showed signs of neglect and hoof rot. The Lattins were later charged with second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor. The two pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case is being heard before Judge Sam Meyer in Thurston County District Court.
Nastansky, who was initially questioned by Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Lippert, explained her background, her years in law enforcement, and her experience with goats, as well as the training she has received for animal cruelty cases.
From there, she described what happened on June 14 at the Lattins’ farm. A sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the farm after a complaint about the goats, but because that deputy had no experience in animal cruelty cases, the deputy asked Nastansky for help. Nastansky reviewed the history of complaints about the Lattins goats.
“It’s not normal for these calls to continue because they usually get resolved,” she told the courtroom. “It made me want to go to the farm.”
And so she did, asking to speak with Carolyn and later Debbie. According to Nastansky, Carolyn told her the goats were under the care of a veterinarian. But after hearing the name of the veterinarian, Nastansky realized that business had recently closed.
Lippert asked about the Lattins’ demeanor.
“Carolyn was relatively friendly, but Debbie was on edge, irritated that I was there,” Nastansky said.
Nastansky and Debbie then went to look at the goats.
“My immediate response was jaw-dropping at how bad they looked,” she said about the goats. Under further inspection, Nastansky discovered “rotting, puss-filled cracks” in the goats’ hooves that smelled like “rotting flesh.”
She also inspected a buck walking on its knees. She checked his hooves and found more rotting flesh.
Nastansky then presented the Lattins with four options: Prove they had a current veterinarian, or move the goats out of the contaminated soil to another part of the farm, or move them to another farm, or turn the goats over to Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County to coordinate care.
The Lattins reacted angrily, Nastansky said.
“They yelled at me and told me to get off the property, adding that ‘I must know everything,’” she said. “I tried to calm them down, but they stormed off. Carolyn was yelling expletives at me, and Debbie demanded to speak to my supervisor.”
The goats were later seized.