Spokane County gives SCRAPS $25,000 to care for seized horses
Spokane County commissioners approved an extra $25,000 for the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service to help cover costs of last month’s seizure of malnourished horses from a West Plains ranch.
SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill estimates the November seizure of 63 horses from the ranch on the 6800 block of East Deno Road could cost SCRAPS as much as $60,000. That’s on top of an estimated $30,000 to pay for July’s seizure of 26 horses from the same ranch.
Cold weather and expensive veterinary bills have made it difficult for SCRAPS to keep up with the cost of nursing the horses back to health, Hill said. Hill appeared before the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to request the $25,000.
Commissioners approved the request under the condition that Hill explore the possibility of placing a lien on the ranch property and seize assets.
SCRAPS will also apply for additional emergency grants. So far, $23,000 of the July seizure has been funded by grants.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided a $5,000 emergency grant to SCRAPS to pay for the latest seizure and has several volunteers in Spokane caring for the horses.
“I don’t think people realize how expensive this is going to be,” said Dick Green, ASPCA’s disaster response director.
Three horses have yet to be adopted from July’s seizure, while 62 of the 63 horses are at Ponti Veterinary Hospital in Otis Orchards or at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. A young colt seized in November died last week.
Property owner Janice Hickerson, also known as Janice Long, faces 21 charges of first-degree animal cruelty from the July seizure. There is a warrant for her arrest for the latest seizure, which includes multiple felony animal cruelty charges. She has not been located, and law enforcement believes she may have left the state.
The horses from the November seizure at Hickerson’s ranch are not yet available for adoption. SCRAPS must hold the animals until Dec. 10. Until then, Hickerson can petition to have them returned to her.
Staff writer Mike Prager contributed to this report.