Spokane, Wash.—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is currently on the ground assisting Spokane County Regional Animal Protective Services (SCRAPS) in Spokane, Wash. with the sheltering, daily care and eventual placement of 63 horses seized on November 15 as part of an animal cruelty investigation.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team will remain in Spokane for the next 30 days to ensure the horses receive ongoing care until custody of the animals is determined. The ASPCA is also providing a $5,000 grant to SCRAPS for much-needed feed and medical care for the emaciated horses, along with additional financial assistance.
SCRAPS officials discovered the severely emaciated and dehydrated horses, which had no access to water or acceptable food, on an abandoned property. Eleven horses in critical condition were taken to a local veterinarian for immediate medical attention. The remaining horses are being cared for at the Spokane County fairgrounds by SCRAPS and ASPCA responders. Additionally, two dogs and a cat were found and removed from the property.
“These horses were left without the most basic of necessities,” said Dr. Dick Green, senior disaster response director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “Our goal is to give these horses the medical attention they need so they can experience a life free of suffering.”
Local authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of the property owner, Janice Long, also known as Jan Hickerson, on charges of animal cruelty in the first degree and transporting or confining animals in an unsafe manner. Hickerson was charged with 21 felony counts of animal cruelty in July after the seizure of 26 malnourished horses from her property. Hickerson has ceased appearing in court for the prior charges and her current whereabouts are unknown.
“This is the largest horse seizure in the history of SCRAPS and the fourth horse seizure we have conducted in the last four months,” said Nancy Hill, director of SCRAPS. “We are extremely grateful for the ASPCA’s help, expertise and financial assistance during this major rescue operation.”
Agencies assisting the ASPCA with care and sheltering include: Days End Rescue (Woodbine, Md.); Code 3 (Longmont, Colo.); Equine Emergency Rescue Unit (Overland Park, Kans.); and Washington State Animal Response Team (Enumclaw, Wash.).
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team is frequently called on by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare organizations to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations. The ASPCA works to protect and aid horses through legislation, rescue operations and grants distributed through its Equine Fund.