June 26, 2013 3

Update: A Five-Year Fight: Helping Horses on Lowell-Larimer Road

Posted in Cruelty Cases

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Part of what makes Pasado’s Safe Haven unique is that we have two full-time cruelty investigators who respond to animal cruelty cases throughout Washington State.

Update 7.14.13: After Phil Roeder’s arraignment on 7.12, an omnibus hearing was scheduled for Aug. 9 with a trial date of Sept. 13. An omnibus hearing is a pretrial hearing that determines the admissibility of evidence.

Update 7.07.13: Phil Roeder’s arraignment was rescheduled for Friday, July 12 at the Snohomish Court House at 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett, Washington in Room 304. Arraignments are scheduled from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Update 7.01.13: Phil Roeder’s arraignment on July 2 will be at the Snohomish Court House at 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett, Washington in Room 304. Arraignments are scheduled from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Roeder’s is scheduled for 3:00.

With an average of 40 cruelty cases each month, we work diligently to ensure that animals are not suffering or left in harmful or abusive situations.

This is what Portland, a Thoroughbred gelding, looked like shortly before he was seized by animal control

There are many cases that we quietly work on behind the scenes – cases that never receive media attention because we are trying to swiftly work in the animal’s best interest. And then there are cases that come to fruition mainly because people come forward, sharing them with social media, with Pasado’s, and with the mainstream media.

Sometimes it seems that there are endless ways that people can hurt, abuse, or neglect an animal. Neglect cases can be particularly difficult to pursue, especially when reports appear to go nowhere. Sometimes, it seems like it takes far too long for a clear case of animal cruelty to finally yield a positive result for the animals.

An animal cruelty situation with a herd of horses has continued in Snohomish, Washington, for more than five years. Dozens of witnesses have come forward to help the horses on Lowell-Larimer Road in Snohomish, Washington, but only recently was the owner charged with animal cruelty. One horse who had a body score of 1/9 was finally seized from this property by animal control. This horse was recently transferred to a horse rescue where he continues to recover.

The horses belong to self-proclaimed horse trader Phil Roeder, 72, who has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty and is scheduled for arraignment on July 2.

“This case has been going on for over five years. Dozens of people have complained to animal control while these horses have continued to suffer,” stated one of Pasado’s cruelty investigators.

According to the charging documents from the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office, Roeder’s charges are as follows:

COUNT I – CRUELTY TO ANIMALS IN THE FIRST DEGREE,
committed as follows: That the defendant, on one or more dates between on or about the 141″ day of December, 2012, and on or about the 24111 day of May, 2013, acting with criminal negligence and without authority of law, did starve an animal, to wit: a brown bay Thoroughbred-type gelding identified as “Horse #1,” and as a result caused substantial and unjustifiable physical pain that extended for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering; proscribed by RCW 16.52.205(2), a felony.

COUNT II -ANIMAL CRUELTY IN THE SECOND DEGREE,
committed as follows: That the defendant in Snohomish County, Washington, on one or more dates between on or about the 27111 day of March, 2013, and on or about the 3″‘ day of April, 2013, did own an animal, to-wit: a dark bay gelding identified as “Horse# 12,” and did knowingly, recklessly, and with criminal negligence did fail to provide the animal with necessary shelter, sanitation, and medical attention, and the animal suffered unnecessary and unjustifiable physical pain as a result of such failure; proscribed by RCW 16.52.207(2), a gross misdemeanor.

Horses showing ribs and skin conditions – courtesy of Karen Margett

According to court documents, the horses have rain rot, cracked and overgrown hooves, hair loss, lice, and bacterial and fungal infections.

Three horses recently received body scores of 1/9 – meaning that they were near death. Animal control officers have found the horses eating moldy hay and one horse was locked in a stall filled with manure and without any clean bedding.

Veterinarian Dr. Hannah Mueller calls Roeder’s case “extreme.”

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

Pasado’s Safe Haven has tried to provide support for this case – including recently meeting with the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, which oversees animal control.

“The lives that were lost were completely preventable,” our cruelty investigator stated.

“Enforcement sets the example and shows people that animal cruelty is serious crime. This must change – both for these horses and for all of the animals who need help!”

She added: “I hope they put a possession ban on him so he can no longer own horses.”

The horses’ hooves are long and cracked and their hay is brown and moldy – courtesy of Karen Margett

Roeder told KCPQ 13 that he “hates to be micro-managed by women” when referring to the animal control officer on the case.

“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,” Roeder stated.

The charging documents state:

Animal Control has tried for five years to ensure that the defendant offers appropriate food, medical attention, and care for his horses. He has repeatedly failed to do so. In the instant case, one animal has died and another has already been removed from his care.

To allow him to continue to care for the remaining horses creates a substantial risk that additional incidences of animal cruelty will occur. Accordingly, the State moves the Court to order that the defendant not have care, custody, or control of any horses during the pendency of this case. The State moves the Court to order the defendant to accomplish this within 14 days of his arraignment.

The charging documents note that on Dec. 14, 2012 Snohomish County Animal Control Services received a complaint of a dozen plus starving neglected horses at 8427 E Lowell Larimer Road in Snohomish County.

Animal control contacted Mr. Roeder again on Jan. 8 2013. The charging documents state: The horse was being fed a very poor quality moldy round bale in a muddy field with very little shelter and protection from the elements.

The horse was becoming thin with his ribs visible and his spine becoming visible. Mr. Roeder was instructed to put the horse in the barn and to start feeding the horse better quality hay and to improve the horse’s body condition.

Charging documents further state: From Jan. 8, 2013 until March 27, 2013 I monitored the condition o f the horses. All of the horses began to lose weight rapidly and were being fed moldy brown hay only sporadically. Recently, between March 27, 2013 and April 3, 2013, Mr. Roeder refused to obtain a veterinarian and provide treatment for Horse #12 a bay Quarter Horse type gelding reported to be around 12 years old.

The gelding was emaciated with his ribs, spine, and hipbones protruding and had extensive rain rot. Mr. Roeder did not provide any care to this horse and refused to provide a veterinarian to examine and treat the horse or humanely euthanize the horse.

Portland had a body score of 1/9

On April 4, 2013 the horse was in need of immediate veterinary care. Mr. Roeder shot the horse in the head to euthanize it stating that the horse was not worth the several hundred dollars that it would cost to have a veterinarian examine and treat it or euthanize it.

This was the same day that Mr. Roeder stated that he was a millionaire but the horse was not worth anything and he refused to put any money into the horse. Mr. Roeder failed to provide aid to this horse even after multiple warnings and request for him to obtain a veterinarian.

Mr. Roeder failed to provide adequate daily rations of food resulting in the horse becoming severely emaciated.

Mr. Roeder allowed the horse to suffer even after admitting that the horse was in poor condition. The lack of proper food being provided to the horse and the lack of veterinary attention resulted in the need to immediately euthanize the horse.

Mr. Roeder’s arraignment is scheduled for July 2nd.

On June 22, ten days before his scheduled arraignment, Roeder placed an advertisement on Craigslist entitled “ Liquidating 14 horses (Snohomish)”

Sealed bids will be considered on each of 14 head of horses. Including foundation Quarter Horses, grade warm blood with quality foal, 1200lb to l400lb geldings, 2 paints, Dapple grey gelding with black mane and tale, Peppy San, Doc Bar etc. blood lines.

Horses were livstock [sic] for thousands of years. I’m going home!

This case only came forward because of the many people who spoke up on behalf of these animals. Many of these good Samaritans contacted Pasado’s, as well, and we continued to work on this case.

Pasado’s is committed to being at the forefront of animal rescue, saving those who need our help the most and pursuing prosecution against those who have abused and neglected innocent victims. Pasado’s will continue to provide updates to this case as they occur.

Because of you, we are able to continue our fight against animal cruelty. If you would like to help support us in our mission to be a voice for the animals, please consider making a donation today.

Together, we can continue to be a voice and a force for the animals.

Updates to this case will be posted as they occur.

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  • Karen Jacobs Margett

    Thanks to Starving Horses on Lowell Larimer Rd FB page and all of the hundreds of folks who got behind the efforts to see these horses safe. No investigation should go on that long and no animal be made to suffer under such obvious cruelty. We understand the omnibus to have been postponed until January 2014.

  • Teasha Berman

    its the same with kids animals and elderly. The state does not protect you have to fight to protect it should be the other way around. Our system is not right. I wish we could find someone in politics to protect animals elderly and kids!

  • Cindy

    Thank you for all your help with this case. There is no excuse for Snohomish County Animal control ALLOWING theses horses to get to this condition. Complaints have been made consistently since 2008. imo these horses were ALLOWED by Animal Control to be neglected for years when there were rescues and others willing to get them help. Horses have died for lack of action. Criminal neglect along side a dereliction of duty on the part of Snohomish Animal control. The agency was made aware of the situation and failed to take adequate action in preventing these horses from suffering from the continued neglect of their owner resulting in death for some.

    Snohomish county residents need to not only demand accountability of the owner but also need to be demanding changes in how their Animal Control program is being ran.

    5 years of suffering is inexcusable.