FINLEY, WA - A Benton County property is littered with animal carcasses and bones. Police are looking into reports from neighbors in Finley along Sloan Road.
A woman close to the situation called NBC Right Now saying nearly 50 horses were being severely neglected. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she had called the Benton County Sheriff's Office to report the neglect in the past, but deputies have never come out, according to her.
NBC Right Now reached out to BCSO to see if a case had been reported near Sloan Road. The department had no documentation of an animal abuse case in that proximity, but Deputy Mathew Clarke did say that, typically, if an animal abuse case is called in they will go out to do a welfare check.
In Benton County, animal control only takes care of dogs. The humane society only takes care of small animals. In a case like this, the Sheriff's Office is the only place people can turn to. This anonymous woman who reached out to NBC Right Now says she is at her wit's end trying to find someone to help.
NBC Right Now went out to the property to see the allegations of animal abuse. The property where these horses roam free is more than 83 acres. The graphic video above shows fields of dead horses, left for coyotes to come eat the remains. Another horse had reportedly been left out during late winter snow storms to rot.
Out of the dozens of horses roaming, one is locked up. That single horse with a gash on its left leg that has received no treatment. There are fields surrounded by old, rotten barbed wire on the fence lines. The woman says small mud puddles are the horse's water source.
On Monday, NBC Right Now followed up. The Benton County Sheriff's Office came out to do a welfare check, and found the horse that had been originally pinned up with a gash in its leg had been receiving medical care as of Sunday, from what the horse owner told the deputy.
NBC Right Now asked the deputy what the laws for disposing of dead animals are. The deputy replied by saying he wasn't sure and didn't have a warrant or probable cause for neglect to go back that far on the property.
NBC Right Now also asked if he would look into the condition of the more than a dozen horses on the property further. He said yes, if there was neglect found from the initial welfare check.
NBC Right Now followed up with Deputy Mathew Clarke to see if he would check on the horses and their water source. Deputy Clarke said the other horses are technically considered 'wild horses' even though they are on someone's property.
According to Washington's animal disposal law: "within seventy-two hours after death or discovery, the owner of a dead animal must properly dispose of the animal" if it's in the public view or causing pollution to nearby water sources.