Over 20 horses seized from Pierce County property recovering, investigation continues

A majority of the horses seized during an animal cruelty investigation are recovering at Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) and will be available for adoption.

Link to video on KING‑5 News Website

Author: Julie Calhoun
Published: 8:43 AM PST February 12, 2023

REDMOND, Wash. — After being rescued from a property in Graham in November, 27 horses are on the mend.

Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies seized the horses from the property as part of an animal cruelty investigation. Now, a majority of the horses found refuge in Redmond at Save a Forgotten Equine or SAFE.

SAFE Executive Director Bonnie Hammond works with animal control in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties and was called in the help in this case.

They had pretty bad worm loads and they had really bad feet. They were lacking in care. They didn’t have a shelter, they weren’t blanketed or anything,” Hammond said.

Hammond said three of the horses were in such bad shape they had to be put down. Eight of them have already been placed and the remaining 16 are at the rescue rehabilitating.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said animal control had been to the property where the horses were rescued from in the past with multiple complaints, and finally had enough evidence for a warrant.The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office said no criminal charges have been filed yet because they are waiting for investigators to give them their case.

As for the horses at SAFE, they are vastly improving.

The way they look different to me is they are shinier, their weight is good,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the first month was about getting them settled and healthy, and now the focus is re-education, training and learning to trust. Something Henry, an Arabian horse, is working on.

He has a lot of anxiety and we’ve been working with him to help him understand he can trust us and we’re not going to put too much pressure on him. When we first met him, we couldn’t even catch him. He was very shy and very reluctant to be handled. Now he’s very friendly,” Hammond said.

All of the horses seized will be up for adoption, but may not be ready right away. Hammond said horses tend to be with them an average 14 to 15 months to make sure they find the right home and don’t end up back in a bad place.

There is the right person for every horse and if we have to keep them here for six years, that is what we do,” Hammond said.

Taking in 27 horses was an undertaking especially for an organization that relies on public support and donations, but for Hammond and the volunteers, it’s a mission and a calling.

It’s what we do best. It’s what we love to do, to gain their trust and help them understand the world a little better,” Hammond said.