King County Animal Control seized a total of 22 horses from an Enumclaw property over the last two days following a neighbor's tip that the animals were in bad shape.
KING 5 reported Thursday neighbors indicated the owner was an 'animal hoarder' and that the horses were so starved their ribs were showing.
King County spokesman Cameron Satterfield told Patch Friday there were more than 40 horses in all on the property and that Animal Control served two separate warrants on both Wednesday and Thursday to seize a total of 22 horses. The first warrant was to seize 16 horses; the second on Thursday was supposed to be for an additional 10 horses. The owner appeared to have moved four of those horses and so they remained unaccounted for and officials were returning to the property to investigate, he said.
Officials left five horses, two goats and a handful of cats on the property because they were determined to be in good health and good condition, he said.
Animal Control was informed the owner used to run a breeding operation, Satterfield said, but at this point, the horses seized appear more like rescues. The owner was also known to try and take in rescues.
Some had vision problems and weren't walking well so appeared they either had physical deformities or wear and tear from old age, he said, but investigators were still looking into whether breeding was taking place.
"It appears most are quasi-rescue animals she took in from other people who weren't other able to take care of them," Satterfield said. "Unfortunately it appears she wasn't able to care for them as well."
If charges were forthcoming, the early part of next week would be the earliest for that to happen. The horses still need full evaluations and King County Sheriff's Office was conducting its investigation as well.
It is too early for information about whether the horses may be adopted later, said Satterfield, but Animal Control welcomes any help that citizens can give in terms of cash or supplies for their care. For more information on how you can help, call 206-296-7387.