Saturday, July 22, 2017

Washington: Carolyn Lattin and Debbie Lattin, owners of Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm, have been charged with animal cruelty

WASHINGTON -- Carolyn Lattin and her adult daughter Debbie Lattin, owners of Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm in Olympia, have been charged with second-degree animal cruelty , a gross misdemeanor, according to their attorney.

Attorney Justin Kover said the two are set to be arraigned in Thurston County District Court next week. Debbie Lattin is set to appear on Monday, while Carolyn is set to appear Wednesday.

Kover hopes to have both women appear at the same time, but that will depend on the judge, he said.

“We look forward to Thurston County dropping the charges,” Kover said in an email. “If we must, we will press my clients' rights to trial and beyond if necessary.”

Kover alleges that a Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy did not follow the law in the animal cruelty case, and that “the Lattins take good care of all of their animals.”

“The charges against Debbie and Carolyn Lattin are categorically false,” Kover claimed.

Kover is all bluff. Typically of defense attorneys to crow about how their client was railroaded, that the police/sheriff is corrupt, that it was all illegal seizures, and that their clients will be vindicated.... then they quietly take a plea deal. But hey, Kover's got to make an effort in front of the cameras for his clients. Show them he's working hard for that money.

Seventeen goats were removed from the farm property last month after a complaint was made about the condition of the animals.

Carolyn Lattin has denied mistreating the goats. She said they use a medicine to treat hoof rot. It heals the animals, but it’s not a cure, she said.

A sheriff’s office incident report, which was obtained by The Olympian Thursday, details the events leading up to the seizure.

After the sheriff’s office received a complaint about goats at the farm in mid-June, it was investigated by Carrie Nastansky, the lead animal cruelty investigator for the sheriff’s office. In the report, she mentions that she has “personally owned goats on-and-off for nearly 23 years.”

Although the sheriff’s office was responding to the recent complaint, there have been seven complaints about the Lattin’s goats in the past two years, the report reads.

Nastansky observed the following: “All of these goats had hoof rot/scald in between their ‘toes.’ The area between the hooves, near the skin, was crusty and oozing pus. Several of them smelled of rotting flesh.”

Nastansky also shot video of the goat herd: “You can clearly see more than half of the goats limping, hobbling and appearing to be in severe pain.”

Nastansky later asked whether Carolyn and her adult daughter Debbie Lattin would be willing to turn the goats over to Hooved Animal Rescue, a group that works with the sheriff’s office.

“Carolyn became irate and told me to leave her property immediately,” the report reads. “She told me that I must know everything since I have previously owned goats.

“I explained that I do not know everything, but I know that saying the disease is incurable is inaccurate, along with blaming the soil itself.”

Nastansky said she was told to leave the property and Debbie Lattin requested to speak to her supervisor.

Nastansky later sought a search warrant and the animals were seized.

Olympia’s Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm is a fall favorite
The farm opened in 1956 as a small family business. The cider came later, in the 1970s.

The farm is a family affair run by Carolyn Lattin and her daughters, Sherrie and Debbie. The cider started in the 1970s, when Carolyn’s husband, the late Vic Lattin, noticed apples on the farm going to waste. He got the idea for a cider press. Debbie remembers the tough days of the old hand-crank press.

The Lattins invited people to bring their own apples to the press to make cider. It caught the attention of locals, and before long, the Lattins started pressing and bottling their own cider.

It’s been a long career that Carolyn still enjoys to this day. 
They should probably stick with cider and baked goods. Too much work to keep animals healthy on a commercial property like this.

(The Olympian - July 20, 2017)