Washington Horse Rescue Operator Charged with Cruelty

The operator of two Washington State horse rescues will be arraigned in King County, Wash., Superior Court on animal cruelty charges April 29.

Dean Solomon, operator of both the former Pacific Equestrian Center and the Washington Thoroughbred Transitional Facility, has been charged with four counts of second degree animal cruelty, said King County Animal Control Officer Sgt. David Morris. Each misdemeanor charge carries penalties of up to 90 days in jail.

Authorities allege that Solomon failed to provide the horses with adequate food, water, and sanitation. They say Solomon kept as many as 100 horses in small, muddy pastures.

Morris said Solomon was keeping on horses on about 11 acres, and that the smallest herd size he had seen on the property numbered 52 horses.

"We've had complaints about Dean for many years," Morris said.

The ongoing investigation into Solomon's operations began in February 2008 after authorities in Auburn, Wash., declared her farm non-compliant with zoning regulations. Solomon voluntarily relocated the Pacific Equestrian Center horses to other nearby rescues and individuals, Morris said.

But Patricia Clark, founder and director of Serenity Equine Rescue in Maple Valley, Wash., said she began receiving horses from Solomon last May.

"I've gotten a total of 22 horses from Solomon," Clark said. "Most were a 2 or 2.5 on the Henneke scale, and all had bad hooves and lice."

Clark said the horses are responding to veterinary care and gaining weight.

Meanwhile, Solomon's Washington Thoroughbred Transitional Facility continues to operate.

Solomon was not available to comment on the case.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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