Authorities Searching For A Woman Wanted On Animal Cruelty Charg - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Authorities Searching For A Woman Wanted On Animal Cruelty Charges, Almost 90 Animals Rescued This Year

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SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service seized 63 horses from a property in Airway Heights Friday. Eleven of those 63 ended up in Otis Orchards at the Ponti Veterinary Hospital because they are in critical condition. The veterinarian at the hospital says this is the worst case of animal abuse he has seen working there. He had to remove a chipped bone from the nose of one horse, and another had a large abscess on its foot.

The other 52 horses not in critical condition were taken to the Spokane County Fairgrounds where they will be nursed back to health.

“His spinal process is very evident, along with the ribs, you can count every rib visibly,” said SCRAPS Officer Nichole Montano as she described one of the horses. “His hip bones and his pelvic bone are just very prominent, they are sticking out. You should not be able to see any of this on a horse.”

These 63 horses were taken from the same property in Airway Heights where SCRAPS seized 25 horses in July. The owner of the property is a woman known as either Janice Hickerson or Janice Long. She has been known to go by several different names.

Hickerson is still facing felony charges from the last time SCRAPS took horses from her. Right now, there is a warrant out for her arrest. At this time, police do not know where she is because she stopped appearing in court for her charges stemming from the last investigation.

This time around, she could be facing first and second-degree animal cruelty charges for starving the horses and keeping them in an unsafe environment. When SCRAPS went to the property Friday, the horses had no water and the only hay they had to eat was so moldy it did not even look like hay according to SCRAPS Officers.

Right now, volunteers are working to get these horses healthy again. 

“A lot of the horses are pretty young,” Montano said. “It does not appear that many of them are halter broke, so they are at the point where they need some training and some manners, and some love.”

Another big question is why Hickerson is allowed to keep owning horses. SCRAPS says it has to do with the legal system. The courts would have to rule that she is no longer allowed to own these animals. SCRAPS also seized two dogs and a cat, along with the 63 horses.

If you would like to help, SCRAPS needs people to donate hay or money to buy hay because feeding all of these horses is expensive and it will take months before any of the seized horses are back to a normal weight.

63 horses were taken during a raid on a ranch Friday in west Spokane County as part of an Animal Cruelty and Neglect investigation, and this isn't the first time problems have been found on that property. 

In late July, SCRAPS officials were at the same ranch on the 6800 block of east Deno. In that search, 26 horses were taken after a vet examined the animals and determined they were at risk.

Owner Jan Hickerson was facing 21 counts of Animal Neglect, and now she could be facing even more. Investigators say the horses taken today had no access to water and their only food was moldy.

11 of the 63 horses were in such bad shape, vets didn't think they would make it through the weekend unless they were removed to be cared for. There were so many animals seized that SCRAPS contacted the ASPCA who is sending a team to help care for all of the animals.

They will now hold the horses for 15 days giving Hickerson a chance to petition the court. If she doesn't the horses become property of SCRAPS.
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