A Lewis County couple has been charged with one felony and five misdemeanors after investigators say they found a pony in so much pain it had to be put down and a number of dogs living in squalid conditions on their property.
Roy I. Wilson, 91, and Cherilyn M. Wilson, 68, both of Winlock were charged with one count of first-degree animal cruelty and five counts of cruelty to animals, a gross misdemeanor.
Neither have been taken into custody.
The couple’s property on Dorning Road was under investigation in September, The Chronicle previously reported. According to reports, a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy, code enforcement officers and a veterinarian found the house was filled with dogs. Reports indicate that, while the house was worse for wear from the numerous dogs living inside, most of the animals appeared to be in adequate health.
However, the vet noted in his report: “The dogs housed in the barn were also living in disgusting conditions. Their runs, inside and outside, were heavily soiled. Their water bowls, while filled, were contaminated with food/dirt, and one had a dead rodent in it. Again, these conditions would be unacceptable by any reasonable person observing them.”
Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said the misdemeanor counts leveled against each suspect were regarding the dogs found in the barn. The lone felony was regarding the pony, which was allegedly found to have been suffering from a hoof condition that made movement painful.
“Laminitis is a very painful condition,” according to court documents. “The owner admitted not seeking attention for her for at least several years. As a result, (the pony) had been suffering for many years. Her conditions of limping and laying down are enough for the average person to identify enough of a problem that should be addressed by a veterinarian.”
Roy Wilson signed the pony over to county authorities during the search, and the pony was put down on the spot, with Roy Wilson saying he would dispose of the body properly.
During an interview with a deputy, Roy Wilson allegedly said Cherilyn Wilson previously kept dogs and some other animals at a spot in Kitsap County, however, he said, deputies and humane society personnel took them away in September.
Roy Wilson was previously known as a spiritual advisor of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, since then, Cowlitz Tribe Secretary David Barnett said he has left that post along with any other involvement with the tribe, and has been asked to appear before the Cowlitz Tribal Council.
“It’s been a long time coming. Tribal members have complained about this behavior for years. … So it’s a relief. I hope that there is a way that all the animals currently in his house are removed, and that they could find a good home for them,” said Barnett.
He added later: “I wish something was done early. It’s horrible. His actions are horrible, and that’s not the Cowlitz way.”
Meagher was unable to advise whether any of the animals on the property had been removed. As of Tuesday, no preliminary appearance for either had been scheduled.