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Kitsap Humane Society gives malnourished horses a new beginning

Kitsap Animal Control Officer James Aiello leads an underfed horse to the pasture at Kitsap Humane Society Wednesday. Animal control seized nine horses from a South Kitsap man because they were not properly cared for. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kitsap Animal Control Officer James Aiello leads an underfed horse to the pasture at Kitsap Humane Society Wednesday. Animal control seized nine horses from a South Kitsap man because they were not properly cared for.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Kitsap Animal Control Chief Rance McEntyre and Officer James Aiello unloaded nine malnourished thoroughbreds and Arab mixes Wednesday at the Kitsap Humane Society.

Animal control officers spent most of the day Wednesday battling the biting cold to round up nine horses from a South Kitsap man. Animal Control Officer Jody Rosenblad repeatedly told the horses’ owner to take better care of his animals, but he didn’t comply.

“This year (2007) I believe we’ve been pretty much working the entire year with him,” McEntyre said. “He just was not as compliant as we wanted him to be.”

All of the horses were underfed and appeared to happily munch on hay and grass at the Kitsap Humane Society. One horse is blind in one eye and the oldest animal, who has sores on its back from horse blankets left on for prolonged periods of time, will be sent to a Seabeck woman for more specialized care.

“The ninth one is so sick it’s going to go to a rescue place where they can take a little more individualized care,” said Don McBurney, Kitsap Humane Society executive director.

Rosenblad decided the animals needed to be seized, so she built up a case and presented it to the county prosecutor, according to McEntyre. Animal control received a warrant and seized the malnourished horses Wednesday.

“(Animal control) always tries to work with the owner unless there’s imminent danger,” said Dana Lerma, humane society development manager. “Sometimes it’s multiple, multiple times that they end up going back.”

McEntyre said the animal owner has 15 days to post bond and/or petition the courts to get his horses back. The humane society will have the animals for at least 30 days to nurture them back to health.

“Technically at this point they’re evidence,” McBurney said. “They could be here as long as six or seven months.”

The humane society had a few horses last year, but not for a long period of time. In January 2006, the animal shelter was home to eight horses for about nine months, according to Lerma.

“We will have them for at least 30 days. We had our last bunch about nine months and it cost us almost $30,000,” Lerma said.

McEntyre said if the horses are released back to the South Kitsap man, animal control officers will check on him and the animals periodically to ensure they are properly cared for.

“That’s usually a court condition,” McEntyre said.

Kitsap Humane Society now needs the community’s help to care for the horses. Lerma said they have already received some assistance from Kiwi Fencing who put up new fences around the humane society’s pasture and heated barn before the horses’ arrival.

“In preparation for our guests, we put in new electrical wire and new fencing,” McBurney said.

Lerma also said the humane society needs clean timothy hay, senior horse feed, beet pulp, lead ropes, muck rakes, curry combs, hoof picks and cash donations to care for the horses. The animal shelter also needs a wooden storage shed in good condition. Kitsap Humane Society is a non-profit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.

“Livestock is always interesting. You never know what you’re going to have,” Lerma said.

The humane society also needs people to help care for the animals. Interested persons must have horse care experience and be at least 16 years old. Contact Judy Tarabochia, humane society operations manager, at (360) 692-6977 ext. 132 or e-mail customerservice@kitsaphumane.org for more information.

“Luckily though for the animals here we have a very generous community,” Lerma said.

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