Non-profits step in after hundreds of animals rescued from farm near Tenino

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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Several non-profit groups have stepped in to help hundreds of animals that were recently rescued from a farm near Tenino.

Investigators in Thurston County say the conditions on the farm were some of the worst they've ever seen, a spokeswoman for the Thurston County Sheriff's Office told KOMO News.

Connie Patterson of Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County knows she's in it for the long haul.

"We have to do things kind of gradually," Patterson said while petting a miniature horse that was rescued from the farm near Tenino. "I’ve managed to get all of the mats out of his mane the other day."

Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County removed 1 full-size horse and 23 miniature horses from the farm, Patterson said. Goats, dogs, cats, rabbits, and several types of birds were also rescued, deputies said.

Patterson is caring for two of the miniature horses. Both horses are under weight and their hooves are overgrown, she said. One has patches under his head where the fur has been rubbed off. He'll have to go through several rounds of lice removal, Patterson said.

"When I walked on the property, the first thing that I noticed was just how ill-kept it was," Patterson said. "There was just junk and garbage everywhere."

The conditions included a horse carcass laying out in a field, some animals standing in mud and feces that was several inches deep and a stench that smelled like an open sewer.

With the help of non-profits, deputies rescued horses, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits and several types of birds from the property.

"It was pretty bad," Patterson said.

Patterson said her organization has already started the process of conducting physical exams to determine what medical care the animals will need.

"Easily a year on a lot of these guys," she said. "And the expense just doesn't stop."

Patterson has already noticed a difference in the two miniature horses she now cares for even though it's only been a week since the rescue took place.

She believes it will easily take tens of thousands of dollars to get all of the animals back to good health.

Sheriff's deputies said the case hasn't yet been forwarded to the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office for review. A spokeswoman for the Thurston County Sheriff's Office told KOMO News that the owners of the farm could face animal cruelty charges.

KOMO News could not reach the owners of the farm for comment.

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