QUILCENE — More than 50 animals have been seized and placed in the care of Center Valley Animal Rescue following a case in which Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies suspect animal neglect.
The Sheriff’s Office issued a search warrant and seized 57 animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and a donkey on Thursday after an investigation for possible animal abuse at a property in the 10000 block of Center Road.
The animals were seized from a 75-year-old Quilcene woman, and the case has been referred to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review and possible charges, Sgt. Brandon Przygocki said.
Animal Control deputy Erik Allen received an initial complaint about possible animal neglect in early June and visited the property with a veterinarian to assess the situation, Przygocki said.
Allen and the veterinarian outlined what the owner needed to do to improve the situation and help the animals — and to prevent a possible seizure — and Allen visited the property “about a dozen times” after the initial contact, he said.
When he saw no change, Allen said he moved forward with the seizure last Thursday.
“At one of my trips out there, I noticed extremely malnourished cows that were attempting to feed their calves, and the calves appeared to be in-bred as well,” Allen said.
The seized animals have a variety of health issues that are now being treated, including emaciation, malnourishment, diseases and parasites, Allen said.
Most of the animals are being taken care of at Center Valley Animal Rescue (CVAR). However, four bulls were taken in at Double B Ranch so they could be separated from the heifers, Allen said.
While charges had not been filed as of Monday afternoon, Przygocki said he believes probable cause exists to charge the owner with both first- and second-degree animal cruelty.
It took officials 4 1/2 hours to trap and load the 57 animals, and it involved about a dozen people between the Sheriff’s Office and CVAR, Allen said.
Officials were not able to catch all of the animals Thursday, leaving two cats and a small number of ducks and chickens on the property, Allen said. There weren’t plans to retrieve them as of Monday.
CVAR is currently housing animals from five different suspected abuse and neglect cases, which include almost two dozen other animals, including dogs, goats and a horse, and the organization announced in a Facebook post it needs donations to be able to provide care.
“CVAR is providing food and shelter to all of these animals as well as medical treatments ranging from lab work, radio graphs & parasite control to assessment of major medical issues and emergency treatment and surgery,” the post said. “This is all provided completely at our own cost.”
The post said the costs of taking care of the large number of animals will reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. CVAR representatives said the organization is accepting donations at centervalleyanimalrescue.org/donate.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 360-385-2335, ext. 5.