LAKEBAY, Wash. -- Efforts to help a lost pony may have backfired. Neighbors thought they were doing the right thing when they alerted Pierce County about a pony they call "Runaway Ray."
Neighbors found him in bad shape. He had an infected eye, a small wound on its back and lice. They couldn't find the owner so they called animal control for help.
Ray was sent to the Tacoma Equine Hospital to be treated. When neighbors asked about the possibility of adopting him, they learned that he would be sent to auction because state law considers horses and ponies livestock, not a pet.
“We don't have any authority in this situation,” said Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. “Everything is state law.”
Once a brand inspector examines Ray, he will be sent to a public auction in Enumclaw on May 9.
“He would be shipped to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered for consumption outside of the country is the worst-case scenario,” said Angel Hiott, one of the Key Peninsula advocates now trying to raise money to win him back.
State Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, is looking at introducing legislation that could keep a pony like Ray from going to auction if someone is willing to adopt them.