A Pierce County couple has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty for allegedly allowing one of their miniature horses to die of neglect.
Neighbors in the 1100 block of 97th Street East called animal control officers to express concern about two miniature horses who were never taken out of a barn and an emaciated horse spotted lying in the mud.
An animal control officer visited the property May 28 and asked the 44-year-old man to see the horses. After seeing the too-skinny horse, the officer suggested ways to improve the horse’s condition and asked to see the miniature horses.
One of the miniature horses was dead when they got to the barn.
The couple claimed they took the miniature horses out every few days and had fed them that morning, according to court records.
A necropsy showed the following:
“… the deceased mini had significant wave mouth (lack of proper dental care leads to a
condition that impedes a horses ability to feed). The animal also had a significant lice problem that was severe enough to have caused the horse to self mutilate. There was a complete absence of abdominal fat, signifying that the horse had consumed its own fat in an effort to survive. With regard to the surviving mini, Dr. Chadim noted that there was no evidence of hay on the ground – in other words, no sign of recent feeding.”
Prosecutors noted that the couple has been cooperative with the investigation and are trying to improve care for the surviving horses.