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Couple previously subject of animal welfare calls

Fri., Aug. 15, 2014

The couple who own 20 animals seized by officers last month have been the subject of several other complaints about the condition of their animals since 2010.

Charges of animal cruelty and confining animals in an unsafe manner have been recommended against Terri A. Marlin and Thomas G. Marlin, said Nancy Hill, director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. The investigation has been given to prosecutors, who will decide whether charges will be filed.

The condition of the animals was discovered when three very thin horses were taken to the Cheney Rodeo Grounds during evacuations for Watermelon Hill fire near Cheney. SCRAPS obtained a search warrant for the Marlins’ residence at 23239 S. Cross Road and seized two horses, a llama, seven dogs, seven cats and three kittens.

“We took the ones we felt were critical or confined in an unsafe manner that couldn’t immediately be remedied,” Hill said.

Some horses had hooves that were overgrown and cracking. The horse in the worst condition, an Appaloosa mare, was described in court documents as completely emaciated with prominent ribs and hips.

Hill said the Marlins have been given until today to make improvements such as cleaning water troughs thoroughly, mending fences and mucking out pens. “They still have some animals there,” Hill said.

The Marlins did not return a message seeking comment.

The first complaint involving the Marlins was made in August 2010. A person complained that the couple was operating an illegal kennel at their residence on West Cameron Road. An animal protection officer found several “skinny and deformed” dogs, according to court documents. In April 2011 a neighbor complained that a dog belonging to the Marlins, then living on South Granite Lake Road, had bitten him. In December 2011 they were cited for having an illegal kennel but all the animals except an injured emu were in good health at that time, according to court documents.

Hill said the criminal charges were dismissed in 2013 as the result of a plea deal after the Marlins successfully completed a probationary period with no new criminal charges.

Another complaint about the conditions of animals on the Cross Road property had been made in December 2012, but the Marlins refused then to let an animal control officer onto the property.

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