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Clark County cracks down on animal abuse and neglect

Since September, Clark County has rescued or relocated 93 animals, with a focus on livestock and horses.

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — Clark County officials are cracking down on animal abuse and neglect cases, according to the county’s animal control agency. The county cites new leadership, increased staffing and a focus on response for getting them through a backlog of old cases as new ones continue to come in.

Since September, Clark County Animal Protection and Control has seized 93 animals from neglectful or abusive situations including cattle, goats, birds and horses.

“That's a really big number when you're used to just dealing with dogs and cats,” said Joanne Cloud, program manager for Clark County Animal Protection and Control. “Some of the cases are pretty rough.”

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Their most recent case involved the rescue of four horses from a home in La Center. One of those horses gave birth on Sunday, bringing that number to five. All of the horses were severely malnourished and in great need of medical attention.

“We got a call just about skinny horses in a pasture,” said Cloud, who was hired in July. “I was concerned that [the mare] would not be able to deliver a healthy baby or to even be able to have the energy to give birth. So luckily we got them to Sound Equine Options just in time.”

Sound Equine Options is a nonprofit that helps neglected and abused horses rescued by law enforcement agencies. They also help find them adoptive homes.

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“I'm pretty good at focusing on what we can get [the horses] to be,” said Kim Mosiman, executive director of Sound Equine Options. “Working with law enforcement allows us to get to the worst of the worst, the ones who need us the most … and then people can understand that people will be held accountable and that community can expect you to take care of an animal and not let them suffer.”

Cloud admitted that before she was hired, Clark County’s animal control services did not have the best reputation with the public.

“Their perception was you can call [animal control] but they won't show up,” said Cloud. “And for me, when I got hired I made sure to say we're going to respond to every call because you never know, even something little could accidentally turn out to be something big.”

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