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Kennewick woman charged with failing to give horses proper care

KENNEWICK -- A Kennewick woman charged with failing to keep her livestock fenced in last month in Finley will be accused of not giving her horses proper feed, water and essential care.

Bonnie Schwabrow was in Benton County District Court on Wednesday to answer an earlier charge alleging failure to fence in her animals.

On Wednesday, a Benton County proseuctor said she will face two new charges involving failing to keep livestock fenced in and not providing essential care, both misdemeanors.Schwabrow is scheduled for a hearing on the new charges Sept. 19.

She requested a jury trial on the original charge with a Sept. 24 hearing.

The three charges stem from cases investigated by a Benton County sheriff’s deputy July 16 and July 31 at a pasture near Riek and Morton roads.

Twenty-three horses, eight cows and one bull were seized July 31.

Schwabrow claims to own the horses, while she and her sister, Connie Lawyer, of Oregon, co-own the cattle, according to court documents.

Lawyer is charged with not keeping the cattle fenced in, which is a misdemeanor.The seized animals have been placed temporarily at locations where they can be fed, watered and tended to, said Jenny L. Johnson, deputy prosecuting attorney.

The locations are not being revealed to lessen the chance of someone trying to steal them, said Airn Reining, the sheriff’s deputy handling the investigation.

“We hope to adopt the horses out,” Johnson said, but first they need some immediate care.

“The charges are unbelieveable,” said Schwabrow in a phone call to the Herald Wednesday evening.

She said the county told her she would have to pay $4,000 to reimburse costs to the county in seizing and caring for the animals if she wants them back.

Johnson said there are immediate care issues for some of the horses.

Three mares are going to foal “any day now,” and several horses need to have hoof care and shoes, Johnson said.

Reining said donations of hay, worming medicine and the assistance of a farrier is needed.

People can offer assistance by calling Johnson at 735-3591.

“We can’t ignore the health issues (for the animals). And this is all on the county,” Johnson said, noting that Schwabrow hasn’t offered to help financially or indicated whether she will try to get the horses back.

Court records on the misdemeanor charges for both women show that there were 25 bales of hay at the property in Finley to feed the 32 animals when Reining checked July 16.

Fifteen days later, 11 bales remained from that pile of hay, which indicated the horses and cattle were getting far less than the eight bales a day Schwabrow said she was providing.

There also was “little or no water,” court documents said.

A certified horse evaluator looked at the animals after they were seized, finding that three were “very thin” and three others were thin, according to court records.

Johnson said Lawyer has a conviction in Oregon for neglect and cruelty involving the same horses that Benton County authorities have seized from Schwabrow.

“A Washington state investigator is involved and has a hold on the animals,” Johnson said.

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