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Woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

An 49-year-old Auburn horse rescuer pleaded guilty last Thursday in King County Superior Court to four counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

Prosecutors filed charges against Dean Marie Solomon, 49, in April after King County Animal Control officers found eight severely malnourished horses on her Auburn property. A veterinarian put down two of the horses because of the severity of their injuries.

Prosecutors will ask at Solomon’s Dec. 5 sentencing that she receive 90 days on each count to be served consecutively but suspended for two years based on her willingness to meet a number of conditions, among them the following:

• That she perform 240 hours of community service.

• Be on supervised probation.

• Undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with recommended treatment.

• Not possess any horses until she is in compliance with her mental health evaluation and recommended treatment if any.

• Allow King County Animal Control reasonable access to all horses.

• Provide proof of quarterly vet visits for her horses to King County Animal Control.

• Not possess more than four horses during her two-year probation.

Prosecutors will recommend that Solomon pay restitution, court costs, a $1,000 civil penalty and a $500 victim penalty assessment.

According to court records, Solomon, who operated the Pacific Equestrian Center, said that had bought the horses at auction to prevent them from being taken to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered. But she was unable to care for all of the horses on her property and left several of them without veterinary care.

On Feb. 19, 2008, Solomon released six horses to a private rescue organization, Serenity Equine Rescue, after Auburn Code Enforcement Officer Don Stephens, who had been working with KCAC in response to numerous complaints of neglect, ordered her to reduce the number of horses on her property.

The next day a veterinarian examined six of the horses and found them to be in thin to very thin condition and most of them infested with lice. The veterinarian concluded that all six were suffering from neglect and starvation and in need of medical treatment.

In addition to these six, the veterinarian euthanized two additional horses belonging to Solomon after she found they were suffering considerably.

“Through my own negligence, some of my horses needlessly suffered,” Solomon admitted in court records. “I failed to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act might occur when I attempted to rescue too many horses from slaughter. I tried to save more horses than I was really able to given my property and resources. My failure to be aware of the substantial risk to my horses constituted a gross deviation from the standard of care a reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation.

“I did this with good intentions, but I acknowledge that I failed to provide adequate and necessary sanitation and space, and four of my horses suffered unnecessary physical pain as a result of my failure,” Solomon said.

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