If you’ve been following local news, you may already know that SAFE is involved in an animal cruelty case involving two horses in the City of Snohomish. The horses first came to the attention of Snohomish police after neighbors reported seeing an emaciated horse on a property within the city limits. Officer Dawn Davis found two horses living on the property, one who was extremely underweight and malnourished. She advised the owners on proper horse care and feeding, giving them three weeks to turn the situation around. When she followed up on the case three weeks later, she found the thin horse’s condition had not improved. She also discovered that the other horse on the property was severely lame and could barely walk. She contacted SAFE, and fortunately we had space available and were able to help with the situation.

The two horses were surrendered to the City of Snohomish police department, and signed over to SAFE. They were immediately transferred to NWESC to be examined by Dr Hannah. She determined that the thin horse, “Atticus” was a 1.5 on the Henneke scale, with protruding ribs, spine, hips, and shoulders. At about 150 pounds underweight, Atticus is very lucky that Officer Davis took action when she did.

The second horse, who we named “Scout,” was not so lucky. The condition of her hooves indicated that she had foundered badly at some point in the past, and x-rays revealed that her coffin bones were severely rotated. When she was removed from her home, she was suffering an acute bout of laminitis, and her pain was so severe that she was reluctant to even take a step forward. Efforts were made to control her pain while she was being examined by the vet, but in the end, it was decided that too much damage had been done and the kindness thing would be to let her go and end her suffering. Scout was humanely euthanized the morning after she was surrendered.

The loss of Scout had a profound effect on Atticus. Atticus was given the chance to see her body after she was put down to say goodbye, but for days afterwards, he would call for her and look for her. Atticus is making new friends, but it’s hard for him, given his age and how close he and Scout were. It’s our hope that once Atticus is fully recovered from his ordeal, we can find him a new home where he can live out the rest of his life in comfort and safety. He would make a great companion for another lonely horse, and he certainly deserves a good home after everything he has been through.

Atticus, three weeks after being rescued.

Atticus, three weeks after being rescued.

Atticus is receiving careful treatment to help him recover from the neglect he suffered. His dietary intake is being carefully monitored to help his regain the weight he has lost without upsetting his digestive system. Atticus is looking and feeling much better after three weeks of proper care, but he still has a long way to go. He is definitely improving but his appearance is still quite shocking. His ribs are still visible, his spine is still protruding, and his hip and shoulder bones are still jutting out. He is also showing signs of lameness that may preclude him from ever being ridden.

The cost to care for the neglected horses is an ongoing challenge for SAFE and the public’s financial help is needed. SAFE has already spent close to $2,000, just in the first month of caring for these two horses. The veterinary costs alone have been significant. And Atticus will be in our care for many more months before we can even think of offering him for adoption. And as with most of our companion horses, it will take time to find him a new home.

The City of Snohomish still plans to bring Animal Cruelty charges against the owners of Atticus and Scout, so at this point in time, we can’t share much more information about them. We don’t want Scout to be forgotten and she will be memorialized on this site when we are able to do so, in hopes that her story will somehow help other horses not suffer her fate.