Horses starving to death on Snohomish, Washington man's property

Horses starving to death on Snohomish, Washington man's property

A deceased horse in the pasture on Lowell-Larimer Road

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A horse trader whose horses have been the center of an animal cruelty investigation in Snohomish, Wash. will finally head to court on July 2. On Friday, June 21, KCPQ 13 News reported that Phil Roeder, 72, has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty - but he disagrees with these charges.

Horses starving to death on Snohomish, Washington man's property

Horses starving to death in Snohomish, Washington

Courtesy of Karen Margett

Roeder is a self-proclaimed lifelong horse trader, but the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office is charging him with two counts of animal cruelty due to the poor condition of his horses. More than one dozen horses on the E. Lowell-Larimer Road have been the focus of animal advocates' concerns for years.

Animal control has received approximately two dozen complaints about Roeder's horses over the past five years.

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.

According to veterinarian Dr. Hannah Mueller, Roeder's case is extreme.

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

Several of Roeder's horses have died, including one horse who was found stuck in a fence, but when KCPQ 13 asked him about this, he stated that he didn't recall.

“I saw a picture of that and I don’t remember that,” he stated.

“Whether the horse was lying down or what not. I’m not sure of that.”

Pasado's Safe Haven, which investigates animal cruelty, has tried to provide support for this case - including meeting with the auditor, which oversees animal control.

“I hope they put a possession ban on him so he can no longer own horses," stated one of Pasado's cruelty investigators, Kim Koon.

"I think it needs to be used as an example that no longer will animal cruelty be ignored in Snohomish County or anywhere else."

In an interview today with KCPQ 13, Roeder stated that he "hates to be micro-managed by women" when referring to the animal control investigator on the case.

Roeder also stated that he has been "harassed by neighbors about the condition of his animals" and that he has had enough.

Roeder asserts that his experience and knowledge should be considered - and he has a warning for those who have been complaining about his horses.

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 suing a lot of people and taking their cars, their houses, and bank accounts away from them if they don’t leave me alone," he stated.

According to the charging documents, Roeder's charges are as follows:

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.

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.

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 hip bones 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.

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.

Roder currently has 13 adult Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses and two foals on his property. After seizing one adult Thoroughbred, 14 horses who likely still need help remain on the property.

Mr. Roeder is scheduled to be arraigned on these charges on July 2nd.

Seattle Pets Examiner will continue to provide updates to this story as they occur.

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