48 horses seized, owner charged with neglect in Yamhill County


Authorities said the horse farm had no potable water

Horses seized from Silver Oaks Saddlebreds in rural Carlton, Yamhill County, Feb. 24, 2021. (Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of horses were seized from a woman who is facing animal neglect charges in Yamhill County, deputies said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, investigators seized 48 horses and seven cats from Silver Oaks Saddlebreds horse farm on NE Hendricks Road in rural Carlton.

The farm’s 82-year-old owner, Susan Swango, was issued a citation for felony 2nd-degree animal neglect.

The Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office learned in early February that water at Swango’s farm had been shut off because the water bill wasn’t paid.

Deputies said they had received complaints in the past about animal neglect happening at the farm but no action was taken when a veterinarian assessed the horses five months ago and found no signs of neglect.

But the lack of potable water at the farm became a new concern.

Oregon law requires animals to be given open or adequate access to potable water — enough to keep them healthy.

A warrant was served at the farm on Feb. 19 and deputies said they found inadequate food and water sources for the horses. The horses were being given water from a nearby creek but it was “insufficient.” Deputies said the horses had concerning physical conditions.

Swango accepted a donation of alfalfa hay the next day but refused an offer of 1,000 gallons of water, authorities said.

Another search warrant was served on Feb. 23 and 24. After a veterinarian examined the horses, the sheriff’s Crime Response Team, Special Investigations Unit, Oregon Humane Society and non-profit horse rescue Sound Equine Options worked together to take the horses off the property.

Deputies said one horse died after falling over while volunteers tried to lead it into a rescue trailer.

The seven cats were taken to the Oregon Human Society. Sound Equine Options is caring for the horses but the non-profit needs donations to help pay for the costs.

Swango is due to appear in court on March 24.

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