Cruelty ruled out in pony deaths

King County animal authorities have ruled out charges in connection with the deaths of two ponies, whose bodies were found recently on private property near Tokul Road.

Al Dams, acting manager for King County Animal Care and Control, said no charges are pending regarding Fall City resident Tanya Mason, whose ponies were found euthanized about 40 feet from a rural trail.

"It was not animal cruelty, the way the animals were euthanized," Dams said. A veterinarian did a necropsy on the animals and determined that death was instantaneous.

Dams cautioned the public that euthanized animals should be appropriately disposed of - taken to a rendering plant or a crematorium - not left on private property.

However, "the owner of the horses did pay for the removal of the bodies, which is another reason why no charges would be filed," Dams said.

Mason said Friday, Nov. 9, that she has been in contact with Weyerhaeuser, the company that owns the land where the ponies were found, and was told the company had no intention of prosecuting for trespassing. The trail, though frequently used by walkers without permission, is not a designated hiking trail, she said.

Mason said the horses were seriously ill and in pain when she made the decision to have them euthanized.

"These ponies were prized party horses," she said. They are now buried on her land.

Mason, owner of Tanya's Fabulous Party Ponies for the past 20 years, turned to a friend to euthanize the animals out of desperation after she couldn't reach her veterinarian. It can cost several hundred dollars to have a pony carcass taken by a renderer, so Mason and her friend decided to dispose of the ponies in the forest.

She expressed regret for that part of the decision, but was angered that a personal tragedy had been turned into a public nightmare by a person she said had an overactive animal rights agenda.

"This is just a nightmare," she said. "These people have been absolutely crazy."

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