Private citizens in Washington State have come forward regarding horses they say are starving in Snohomish, Wash. – and animal control is finally listening. On Thursday, May 23, KOMO 4 News reported that horse trader Phil Roeder was cited for cruelty and neglect and told to correct these issues.
Roeder has 15 days from the violation orders to file his appeal and Animal Control officers will forward their findings to the prosecutor to consider charges if he does not make the necessary corrections.
Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, Roeder denies that any of his quarter horses or thoroughbreds have died.
“There’s no skinny horses dying out there,” he stated.
Roeder indicated that he has a plan to help his underweight horses.
“That’s why I put her in here – she needs a little extra,” the horse trader explained about one of his horses.
“She’s never been sick; none of these horses are sick.”
Those who have seen the horses say that it is a clear case of animal cruelty. Multiple people have asked Animal Control to intervene on the horses’ behalf and move forward with an animal cruelty case.
The horses, who live on E. Lowell Larimer Road, show ribs and hip bones, misshapen hooves, and skin conditions.
According to witness Kirstan Sanders, the horses are in very poor condition.
“There was a big, bay, emaciated horse with chunks of hair falling out and scabby skin,” Sanders stated.
“His pin bones stuck out on his hips. Inches of his spine stuck up and all his bones showed. I thought, surely, this is a fresh rescue horse.
“Then others walked forward – those weird gaits showing up again. I saw the little grey next. Bones, ribby and shaggy,” Sanders added.
According to Jaime Taft, founder and recently retired president of Save A Forgotten Equine (SAFE), Roeder may be a horse trader, but he is not experienced in the actual care of horses. Taft is one of 22 people who contacted Snohomish County Animal Control (SCAC) complaining about Roeder’s horses.
According to Taft, the neglectful situation has been going on for years.
“I’m trying to get people to realize that vigilante justice is not the answer; we still need to rely on the system to get the horses safe and to punish the offender, but that the answer is to do whatever is necessary to get someone to recognize that the system, in this county, is severely flawed,” Taft stated.
According to Snohomish County Licensing and Animal Control Services (SCAC) Manager, Vicki Lubrin, who discussed the case this morning, the investigation is well underway.
“The case is still considered an open, active investigation; therefore, we cannot disclose the details of the case nor all of the actions taken to date by this office so as not to compromise the integrity of the case,” Vicki Lubrin stated today.
“I can tell you that we recently served a search warrant for the purpose of taking the equine veterinarian on site, take blood and fecal samples and prescribe a treatment plan which included farrier care.
“There are 13 adult horses that were assessed by the veterinarian. The owner was issued an Immediate Corrective Action Order that he must comply with.
“The Animal Control Officers are in regular contact with the owner on-site and the case remains open at this time.
“We are working closely with our Prosecuting Attorney, as well,” Lubrin added.
During their investigation, animal control officers and a veterinarian discovered fungal infections, inadequate hoof care in all 13 horses, and no quality food. Roeder was cited for cruelty and neglect and told to correct these issues.
“I feed them what’s economical. It keeps them healthy so I can make a break even or little on them,” Roeder said.
Despite numerous witness statements to the contrary, Roeder insists that he would have made all of the changes without being told. When?
He plans to appeal the violation orders.
Seattle Pets Examiner will continue to provide updates to this story as they occur.
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