A total of 89 horses have been seized by animal rescuers in the span of just a few months from a property in Airway Heights. Each of the animals was starving, weak, and dehydrated and almost all of them belonged to the same woman.
In July, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service seized 26 horses from a property owned by a woman named Janice Long or Janice Hickerson. She goes by several different aliases. Hickerson is facing felony charges from the incident this summer and now more animals belonging to her are in state custody where they will be nursed back to health.
Twenty-three of the horses from that seizure in July went to the River's Wish Animal Sanctuary in North Spokane to be rehabilitated. Walking across the property you will run into animals large and small. It is a tough job, but without them, many of the animals would have no other place to go.
Peter Jagoda, one of the owners of the sanctuary, spends most of his time taking care of animals no one else wanted.
"We try to provide them with a safe place to live and give them veterinary care and shelter," Peter Jagoda said.
What started as a volunteer project nearly two decades ago, has turned into an animal sanctuary for furry little rabbits, goats, potbelly pigs that like to eat pumpkins, birds, and dozens of neglected horses.
"Probably in the last couple years we've been called on maybe four times," Jagoda said.
One of those calls was from SCRAPS needing a place for 23 horses seized from one of Hickerson's properties where SCRAPS says they were left without food, water, or shelter.
"This last July, that was probably the largest request they made of us to act as a sanctuary for these horses that were seized," Jagoda said.
After months of hard work, all but three of those horses have found permanent homes and are back at their normal weight. However, as those horses make a recovery, 63 more will need to be rehabilitated as well.
"It's very difficult and I would have to say we suspected we would probably see something happen further over there," Jagoda said.
It is hard to say where all these horses are coming from, but Jagoda says cases of animal abuse happen far too often.
"I think it's frustrating looking at the picture, this is just one case," Jagoda said. "People don't think about horses ending up in jeopardy, and unfortunately it's not just here in Spokane, it's all over the country."
Although it does get expensive taking care of so many abused animals, they say it is very rewarding when the animals learn to trust them.
Eleven of the horses seized Friday were in critical condition. One had to be put down because it could not stand anymore.
However, there are three from the previous seizure that are healthy and ready to be adopted. If you would like to adopt one of the horses, fill out an adoption form online and either email it to SCRAPS or drop it off at their office. Once you have been approved, there is a $125 adoption fee.
If you wish to donate money or hay to the horses, you can contact River's Wish at (509) 466-7326 or SCRAPS at (509) 477-2532.
For more information on how you can adopt one of the horses check out this link: http://www.khq.com/story/23601875/seized-horses-up-for-adoption-at-scraps