Horses starving, dying on Snohomish farm

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HORSE1-1SNOHOMISH — Raising and selling horses has been a way of life for 72-year-old Phil Roeder, but it’s also what now has him in legal trouble.

The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office is charging Roeder with two counts of animal cruelty. For the last five years, Animal Control has received nearly two dozen complaints about the condition of Roeder’s horses.

Court documents show some had hair loss, rain rot, bacterial and fungal infections, lice and overgrown and cracked hooves.  Animal Control officers said they found the horses eating moldy hay and one horse was in a stall full of manure with no clean bedding. Currently, there are about a dozen horses on his property, including two foals born in the last two months.

Dr. Hannah Mueller sees a lot of abused horses in her vet practice and saw Roeder’s horses firsthand. She said she has no doub they have suffered.

“There is significant pain from muscle wasting. There is stomach pain from lack of nutrition and eventually, the horses actually die,” Mueller said.

Documents show several of Mr. Roeder’s horses have died — one was found stuck in a fence. We asked Roeder about that and he said he couldn’t recall the incident.

“I saw a picture of that and I don’t remember that,” he said. “Whether the horse was lying down or what not. I’m not sure of that.”

Animal cruelty investigators with Pasado’s Safe Haven are frustrated it took this long to charge Roeder.

“I hope they put a possession ban on him so he can no longer own horses. I think it needs to be used as an example that no longer will animal cruelty be ignored in Snohomish County or anywhere else,” Kim Koon said.

During an interview, Roeder said he hates being micro-managed by women, referring to the female animal control investigator on the case. He also said he has been harassed by neighbors about the condition of his animals and has had enough.

“Most of them don’t know nothing about nothing. I’ve done 50,000 horses in my life and I know a little bit about them. I’m getting tired of it and I’m probably going to end up suing a lot of people and taking their cars, their houses and bank accounts away from them if they don’t leave me alone.”

Roeder is scheduled to be arraigned on animal cruelty charges July 2.

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  • Elizabeth

    That dead horse from last year wasn't "stuck in the fence", it was lying on the ground with its head under the fence. It wasn't touching the fence at all. I saw it from the road and took three photos as proof. Funny how Roeder's memory suddenly got fuzzy when that horse was brought up, though. I wonder if he remembers the other two dead horses from the same time period, or the dead paint foal from a couple of months ago. Or how he shot a horse 6 months ago rather than spend $150 to treat it for a sheath infection. Or even how the Thoroughbred pictured above got that way. Nice selective memory there, Phil.

  • Anne Tenneyson

    "Most of them don’t know nothing about nothing. I’ve done 50,000 horses in my life and I know a little bit about them. I’m getting tired of it and I’m probably going to end up suing a lot of people and taking their cars, their houses and bank accounts away from them if they don’t leave me alone.”

    Phil Roeder, you are a selfish and cruel man. Not one of the many people who have seen your horses, offered to help and endured your bullshit is one lick as fearful as you are about money. You are a wealthy man who spends him twilight years abusing horses, making up stories and denying reality. Take this opportunity to let the horses have a decent life and unburden yourself from their care. They are clearly irrelevant to you. Let them go. I know you think they are valuable but in their current condition, rehabilitating them will cost far more than anyone will pay for them.

    Anyone who thinks about unloading their horse at auction, keep in mind that even worse things can happen to your horse than going to slaughter. That is how Phil Roeder gathered his herd.

  • Jan

    This is unspeakably sad and maddening. We are ultimately responsible for any and all animals we own and the pictures speak for themselves. Anyone who allows their horse(s) to be found in this condition, should not be allowed to own horses ever again. If there have been this many complaints, it's time to call a halt to Mr. Roeder's possession of these beautiful animals.

  • finallyhomerescue

    This man was offered money for the horses because people were so desperate to help them, he agreed to one price but then changed it when everyone showed up. This man is the most hateful of human beings, he hates women & thinks he has the right to do what he wants with his "property" he has no care, no concern, no heart for anything but himself. I'd LOVE to see him try to sue me, first off he wouldn't get anything second off I'd counter sue the old fart & keep him in court til he was flat broke busted. God don't like ugly & this man defines it.

  • equinelover

    What a royal son of a bitch. I hope he falls in his house, gets a broken hip and starves to death because no one CARES if they notice him missing.

  • deeregirl

    For everyone who is is upset about this story, as an ex tenant on this property, Karma has her own way of dealing with men like this. The most important issue right now is that he is "liquidating" his herd on Craig's list. Please remember horses are not always easy "keepers" and these horses will have some very expensive initial treatments that need to be done,… vet, farrier and very careful diet to get them back to natural weight…. then you have the emotional, trust issues….Please think carefully before you react. There are plenty of horse people out there are should be willing to help, even if it is only for advice.

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