County horse farmer, 72, charged with animal cruelty

EVERETT — Prosecutors have charged a 72-year-old Snohomish County farmer with animal cruelty after he allegedly starved his herd of horses and failed to provide them with proper care and shelter.

Philip J. Roeder was charged earlier this month in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree felony animal cruelty and second-degree animal cruelty.

County animal control officers for years have been trying to get Roeder to take better care of his horses, court papers show. They served a number of search warrants in recent months as they built a criminal case against him.

One of the horses, a thoroughbred gelding, was taken from Roeder in May because the animal needed emergency medical care.

That horse now is being cared for at a rescue operation in Woodinville, said Vicki Lubrin, the county’s licensing and animal control services manager.

Roughly a dozen other horses remain at Roeder’s property along E. Lowell-Larimer Road near Everett.

Prosecutors have asked the court to ban Roeder from keeping animals while the case is in court proceedings. That discussion likely will be part of his arraignment, set for next week.

Roeder didn’t fight the seizure of the gelding, so it now belongs to the rescue organization, Save a Forgotten Equine.

The horse has been nicknamed “Portland” by rescue staff, Executive Director Bonnie Hammond said. Research showed the animal was a winning racehorse for years in Oregon. His racehorse name was “Rose City Special.”

The horse is being fed a special diet and has a constant supply of hay, Hammond said. His ribs, backbone and hip bones still stick out.

“He’s a real sweet horse, but he is very, very thin. He is very sad. He seems kind of depressed,” she said. “We’re hoping that once he starts feeling better and regaining his strength that he will perk up.”

The rescue group is working with the animal control officers.

“We sincerely appreciate their willingness to step up and help,” Lubrin said.

For information about donating to Portland’s care, contact SAFE at www.safehorses.org or 360-692-3611.

Roeder has no known criminal history.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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