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Scrawny horses rescued after being dumped in Snoqualmie National Forest

King County Animal Control agents want to know who neglected and then abandoned two horses in the wilds of the Snoqualmie National Forest.

The two horses, a bay mare and a gray gelding, were spotted by a hiker and rescued Thursday, July 22, from a remote location off Tinkham Road east of North Bend.

The horses didn’t shy as volunteers with Washington State Animal Response Team, or WASART, walked up to them with halters and lead ropes, then nickered to each other in greeting.

“We don’t know why they were abandoned,” said WASART president Gretchen McCallum. “They had been neglected for many months before they were abandoned.”

The animals were between 100 and 300 pounds underweight, and had foot problems from lack of care. One horse had lost several teeth from neglect.

The horses were taken to the home of a WASART member, and will later be transfered to a private rehabilitation center in King County. Eventually, they will be adopted out to new owners.

Abandoned in the mountains, the horses were lucky to have survived for any length of time. They could have been prey for cougars, and with their feet in poor condition, the animals probably had a difficult time finding water.

County law states that it is legal for owners to euthanize an animal. Dumping horses, however, is not.

“It is not OK to abandon your own horse, or any animal,” McCallum.

During tough economic times, some dump their animals to avoid the expense of care or euthanasia.

“People are abandoning animals in many places,” McCallum said. “But this is not the way to go.”

She said there are many rescue organizations that can step in, and veterinarians who can humanely end the life of a horse that is suffering.

“I don’t know why these people did what they did,” McCallum said. “I do know this is the wrong choice for the problem. For every choice you make, there are consequences.”

King County Animal Care and Control is considering posting a reward for tips leading to the owner of the horses.

The two horses have not been given names by their rescuers.

“If you name them, you bond with them,” McCallum said. WASART will let the horses’ new owners have that honor.

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