A Spokane County woman, already under investigation for animal cruelty is facing more scrutiny after SCRAPS investigators went to Janice Hickerson's West Plains property to evaluate more than 60 horses.
Hickerson is already facing 21 counts of animal cruelty stemming from an incident back in July. At the time she admitted to a judge that 25 of her horses needed medical help that she couldn't provide. Those animals were seized, but now it appears she has more on her property and investigators say these are in even worse shape than the ones already seized.
6805 West Deno Road in west Spokane County is becoming a very familiar place for SCRAPS investigators. In July, 25 horses were seized from Hickerson, with many in very poor condition. She was subsequently charged with 21 counts of animal cruelty. Friday morning they were back at her home, this time seizing 63 horses.
"The condition of the horses are slightly worse this time. They saw no water on the property and the food that was there was moldy," SCRAPS director Nancy Hill said.
Hickerson wasn't at the property when the horses were seized and the power to the property was shut off.. She had said in the past she was buying starving horses and nursing them back to health. Investigators said if that was the case she was falling way behind.
"We have been investigating her for a number of months; this is our second search warrant. We have serious concerns about her to care for these animals," Hill said.
Eleven of the horses seized today were in critical condition and went straight to Ponti Veterinary Hospital in Otis Orchards. Foals born this year were half the size they should have been. Others had open sores and some were 200 pounds underweight.
It's likely Hickerson will face abuse and neglect charges again.
"It's my understanding there is an active warrant for Miss Hickerson. She has failed to respond to our recent charges and some additional charges," Hill said.
Hickerson's abuse history stretches into Idaho and goes all the way back to 2004.
The horses not at the veterinary clinic were taken to emergency shelters at the Spokane fairgrounds, and with the number of animals involved SCRAPS called in the ASPCA to help.
"In this particular case, with this large of a seizure, we decided we should call them," Hill said.
Hickerson will have three weeks to appeal the seizure. Any of the horses she doesn't get back will be adopted out at that time.