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'It’s putrid': Neighbors say dead horse in neglect case left on property for months
by Joe Douglass, KATU News
  Saturday April 29, 2017 - 12:06 PM
DAMASCUS, Ore. — Months after authorities said a dead horse and malnourished animals were found on a woman's property in Damascus, neighbors claim they're still dealing with the fallout. Neighbors said Friday that they suspect the carcass of the horse is still there. Clackamas County authorities said it died in January.

Regarding the carcass, a county spokesman told KATU, "We've been engaged on this issue."

But neighbors said they're not happy with the county's response. They said they complained to the county last week about the carcass, but as far as they know it's still on the property off the 12000 block of Southeast Winston Road.

A KATU reporter could smell a strong odor from next door Friday afternoon.

A woman on the property declined to comment when asked whether the carcass of the horse was still there.

Last month, prosecutors said a woman who lives there, Christie Davis, 60, was charged with seven counts of second-degree animal neglect.

The Oregon Humane Society (OHS) said on Feb. 24 that they pulled three horses from the property. They said the animals were seen eating wooden fence boards and blackberry vines and two of them were extremely malnourished. Another was reportedly very malnourished, and a fourth was found dead. Authorities said it died in January.

In observing one of the horses, OHS claimed an investigator said, "Even through the (horse's) thick winter coat I could see the outline of his entire rib cage. … The observed body condition of all three horses indicated inadequate quantity and quality of food to maintain proper body condition."

Charles Jelsema, who lives next door to the property, told KATU on Friday that he and other neighbors recently noticed a horrible smell.

"It gets worse every day," Jelsema said. "It's putrid. Here comes the wind right now. You'll notice in a second probably."

They believe that smell is from the carcass of the dead horse still on the property.

From outside, a KATU crew couldn't see it but neighbors said it's still there. Last week, two other neighbors said off-camera that they called the county to complain.

Jelsema said he's exchanged messages with a code enforcement official but so far nothing's happened.

"I thought there was some progress and there hasn't been any as far as I can tell. It's really sad because, you know, obviously, she's struggling and her horses are suffering from it. But, you know, that's neither here nor there when it gets to this point where it becomes a health issue," Jelsema said. "It's carrion. It's basically food for all kinds of scavengers -- birds, rats -- they get into the food cycle."

Tim Heider, public affairs manager for Clackamas County, sent a KATU reporter an email on Friday saying, in part:

"I can have more for you Monday but preliminarily it appears that we have been engaged on this issue. Code Enforcement staff sent a letter a few weeks ago and after checking back earlier this week, issued a citation today."

He would not say whether the carcass was removed.

Animal rescuers told KATU the three horses taken from the property are "recovering nicely."

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