SCRAPS estimates care for rescued horses could exceed $90,000



Posted on December 3, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 9:40 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--The cost is adding up fast to care for dozens of horses that were rescued as part of the biggest equine cruelty case in Spokane County. SCRAPS officials said it could cost nearly $100,000 to make sure all the animals are taken care of correctly.

Nearly 100 horses have been seized from Janice Hickerson’s West Plains property since July.

“They had suffered animal cruelty to the extreme,” said field operations manager for SCRAPS, Nicole Montano.

Officials said all the horses came in starving and neglected from Hickerson. One colt died in late November from malnourishment.

READ: Colt dies after being seized from West Plains' property

“I think it's sick that people can do that to so many animals and just be so reckless and careless,” said foster owner Becky Hodgen.

Hodgen arrived Tuesday at the Spokane fairgrounds to foster one of the animals.

The animals are all currently part of an ongoing and expensive investigation. SCRAPS paid $27,000 to care for the first wave of horses in July.

Officials fear they will need $60,000 more.

“Financially, this has been huge. We've had a vet come out almost every other day, assessing all of the animals, making sure they're thriving. And we've had a lot of medical concerns,” said Montano.

Some of the cost has been reimbursed through grant money. The effort is so large that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals brought a team out of New York City to help care for the horses.

READ: Spokane horse abuse cases--More victims?

“It takes an army to make them well again. They needed a lot of rehab, and it's a big job,” said Jesse Rushin with ASPCA.

SCRAPS is accepting foster applications for the remaining horses.

A felony arrest warrant remains for Hickerson who has skipped out on her last court hearings.

“We would like to find her and bring her to justice,” said Montano.

Hickerson’s deadline to petition to keep the animals is next week. A judge could still award the animals to SCRAPS as he did in July. Any of the foster animals could be adopted permanently if they are given to SCRAPS.