Early Wednesday morning, Pierce County Animal Control officers seized 39 horses from a property in the area of the 30800 block of Meridian East.
Animal Control officers served a search warrant Sept. 26 in response to another law enforcement agency’s concerns over the health of horses on the property.
While this is an ongoing investigation, the animal owners could face charges of animal cruelty in the second degree, a gross misdemeanor in the state of Washington.
Officers found 39 horses on the property living in deplorable conditions. Many of the horses had medical issues, some were very thin, and some have various types of injuries. Most of the horses were in barns that had large amounts of urine and feces in the stalls as well as the aisle ways. Some of the barns had no lighting or ventilation and the smell of ammonia was very strong, according to a press release from Pierce County.
All of the horses are being removed and taken to an undisclosed location for veterinary care and to be held as evidence.
Agencies from around the area are assisting with transporting and feeding the horses while they are in custody. One ton of feed is being delivered today to feed the horses.
“This is the largest seizure of horses that Pierce County Animal Control has ever undertaken,” said Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor. “Horses are expensive animals to seize and provide care for.”
The number of animals seized and their prior living conditions make this operation particularly challenging.
“Many of the horses appeared to have been kept in conditions with no sunlight or ventilation and are very scared,” Anderson said.
“We were able to get everything put together very quickly to have the animals removed and receive the proper care they need," said Brian Boman, Pierce County Animal Control supervisor.