Pierce County prosecutors have charged a Roy woman with two counts of first-degree animal cruelty for allegedly letting two horses starve to death.
Shyrell Wood, 24, is to be arraigned Feb. 17.
Authorities seized her two remaining horses in December and a judge last month denied her request to get them back, saying Wood could subject the animals to future neglect.
Neighbors called animal control officers to Wood’s property in November after seeing an 8-year-old thoroughbred mare named Buttercup go down in the pasture.
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The officer who responded ordered Wood to call a veterinian but after several hours, summoned a vet herself.
Several people tried to help the horse up but it was too weak and fell, hitting its head on the frozen ground. The vet later euthanized Buttercup because he didn’t think the horse could make it to a trailer to get proper medical attention.
A necropsy determined Buttercup died of long-term starvation, according to charging papers.
Neighbors told the animal control officer they’d been concerned about the horses since Wood took them from her sister. The animals appeared so thin that neighbors tossed hay over the fence.
One neighbor noted it took a horse five minutes to walk 80 yards to reach the food.
They said they hadn’t reported Wood because they feared retaliation.
Another horse on the property, Shylo, also appeared underweight, so the animal control officer gave instructions on how to care for the horse and set a date to return to check on Shylo’s condition.
The horse died before the officer returned. Results of the necropsy were undetermined but it is believed Shylo also was dehydrated and malnourished.
When the officer returned to Wood’s property in December, she said one of the two remaining horses still had no shelter and Wood took no action to ensure that the animals’ water wouldn’t freeze during cold weather.
The horses were seized.