Sunday, February 5, 2017

Idaho: Court to determine if horses will be returned to Moscow owner Teresa Davis

IDAHO -- A Moscow woman accused of animal cruelty will likely find out whether or not she will be able to retain ownership and regain custody of the five mares removed from her property in December when she returns to court Feb. 17.

Judge William Hamlett set the date Friday during a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse.

The woman, Teresa Rai Davis, 55, was charged with animal cruelty Dec. 22, less than 48 hours after five mares were removed from her Polk Extension property and transported to a rehabilitation center for care.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Moscow City Prosecutor Erin Tomlin, Davis failed to provide adequate care for one bay, two sorrel and two black mares between Sept. 1 and Dec. 21.

The hearing Feb. 17 will examine an animal forfeiture petition filed by City Prosecutor Erin Tomlin on Jan. 21. The petition, under Idaho Code 253520B, requires the city to show probable cause for its removal of the horses. If probable cause is proven, Davis will forfeit the animals to the city. If the judge finds probable cause lacking, Davis will have 72 hours to pay a bond in an amount set by the city in order to reclaim the animals.

Lewiston attorney Danny J. Radakovich, who said he took on Davis' case earlier this week, alleged two of the animals do not belong to his client and their owners may wish to claim them.

Tomlin said the claim is new information and she has not received any documentation pertaining to it.

The complaint filed by the city also included statements from State Veterinarian Scott Barnes, State Livestock Investigator Kerry Sanford and Moscow Police Department Cpt. Roger Lanier noting the condition of the animals and their surroundings.

"Three horses were located inside the barn with each horse in a separate enclosure made from a combination of baling twine and electric fence tape. One enclosure had some livestock fence panels on one side," Lanier wrote. "The floor of each enclosure was above the grade of the barn by several inches due to the build-up of horse feces ... I estimated it at 6 to 8 inches."

Lanier also noted the two black mares in the pasture area had adequate area for movement but no shelter and limited access to food and water. He wrote the animals had to stand in about of foot of mud and feces to reach the hay at the base of a box created by stacking wooden pallets. They had rubbed sores on their necks and throats as they attempted to eat from the box, which contained a little hay at the bottom.


Barnes noted in his statement to the court he judged the horses' physical condition through equine body conditioning scoring. The three mares in the barn varied from scores of emaciated to very thin and the two mares out of doors as thin to moderately thin.

Tomlin said Friday the animals are continuing to receive veterinary care in their current location.

"They're improving," she said. "Slowly."

(Moscow Pullman Daily News - Feb 4, 2017)