THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Calling it one of the worst cases of animal abuse they've ever seen, rescuers from Hooved Animal Rescue and Animal Services are now caring for 23 miniature horses and more than 100 other animals found living in horrific conditions in Tenino.
That includes 10 goats, eight dogs, cats, rabbits, pet birds and more than 100 chickens. One dog was found lying dead on the property.
The miniature horses were living in muck and mud, some knee-deep with no dry place or shelter to get out of the elements.
"We had almost 150 that we moved to a secure location. When we put fresh water down for them, they just scrambled for that water. I don't know how long it has been since they had fresh water. It was heartbreaking to see that," said Kathy Bailey, president of Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County.
Warning: Some may find some of these photos disturbing
The animals were removed from a backyard farm on Sunday. Rescuers found goats housed in feces-filled stalls in a barn that looked like they were never allowed to leave.
"There was a dog that was kept in a kennel that was filled with feces and urine. The food was thrown down on the feces for the dog to eat. The water bucket had old straw and feces on it and the water inside was full of algae," Bailey said.
Now, the staff and volunteers at Hooved Animal Rescue is working to nurse all of them back to health. Photos show several miniature horses with severely overgrown hooves.
"They have to X-ray their feet. They have gone for years without farrier care. Many have sores from being bitten by lice, rain rot and many are stallions who will need to be gelded before being adopted into homes. They all need dental work and ... some of the horses need some weight put back on them to bring them back to health," Bailey said.
Caring for the animals will be expensive. Just the X-rays on the miniature horses are expected to cost as much as $15,000.
Donations can be sent to Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County at PO Box 711, East Olympia, Wa 98540 or made through PayPal or at their website at https://www.har-otc.org/
Thurston County Animal Services plans to refer 19 charges for second-degree animal cruelty to the prosecutor's office, with more counts possible depending on the outcome of the full investigation.
Q13 News is not naming the owners as they have not been formally charged in court with a crime.
"The owners did sign over the horses and all the poultry to our care, but not the rest of the animals," Bailey said.
They will have 14 days to petition to have the dogs returned to the home.