LEBANON, Ore. -- The Linn County Sheriff's Office seized 34 horses Wednesday morning from a property on Berlin Road outside of Lebanon.
Criminal charges for second-degree animal neglect are pending on owners Carol Davidson, 69, and Edward Davidson, 66.
The sheriff’s office had been working with the Davidsons since December after receiving complaints about horses standing in muddy conditions.
In January, Deputy Corey Putney drove by the address and noticed that numerous horses were still standing in muddy conditions, and a dead horse had not been disposed of properly. Putney cited Carol Davidson for placing an offensive substance near a waterway and failing to license her dogs. Putney also noticed the horses were showing signs of poor health, including unhealthy weight loss since he saw them a month earlier.
Since January, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office had received several calls about the horses’ poor conditions. During this time, Putney was working with Carol Davidson to improve the living conditions for the horses.
Davidson was cooperative and made some changes to address the conditions, but the changes were minimal and not sustained. Putney continued checking on the horses periodically and in April received an additional report of dead horses on the property. While checking on the horse carcasses, Putney found that the health of the remaining horses was deteriorating further and took action to seize the horses.
Deputies executing the search warrant found some of the horses standing in septic mud and water full of urine and feces. The horses were thin and their ribs and hip bones were showing. They did not have access to clean drinking water and there were no signs of adequate food.
Sheep and several dogs on the property appeared to be in adequate health and were not seized. The sheep were kept in a separate area from the horses.
During the search warrant, Davidson had a medical issue and was taken to the hospital. Edward Davidson was not at the property during the search warrant.
Deputies were assisted by Sound Equine Options from Gresham. Sound Equine Options spent all day assisting deputies and transported the horses back to their facility to be evaluated and receive veterinary care before being fostered out to other locations. Sound Equine Options received a grant from Animal Legal Defense to fund the initial care costs; however, the cost of veterinary care and feed will be extensive and more funding will be needed. Anyone interested in making a donation is encouraged to visit Sound Equine Options.