Authorities on Wednesday seized dozens of horses from a property in Pierce County.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Dept. said Animal Control officers served a search warrant Wednesday morning in response to another law enforcement agency’s concerns over the health of horses on the property.
The Pierce County officials said 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.
"Anyone who has any experience with equine medicine knows hoof care and what happens when you're standing in one foot of manure and urine for months at a time has devastating consequences on horses," said Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson.
All of the horses were being taken to an undisclosed location for veterinary care and to be held as evidence.
Anderson said this is the largest seizure of horses Pierce County Animal Control has ever undertaken.
"They have not been handled in a very long time, they literally have 'night eyes' so they're very sun sensitive and are having trouble with depth perception," said Anderson.
“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.
The animal owners could face charges of animal cruelty in the second degree, a gross misdemeanor in the state of Washington.