Prosecutors charge Kent horse boarder with animal cruelty

KENT, Wash. -- A woman who earns a living boarding horses at her home is now charged with animal cruelty. Prosecutors say she let "Stinky" the horse nearly starve to death, and by the time help arrived, he was so weak he had to be put down.

Stinky was first boarded with Rose Ridlon in 2010. The horse's owner agreed to pay Ridlon to provide food and shelter for the 15-year-old Arabian. However, when the owner hired a veterinarian to do a check-up on Stinky, the report that came back was shocking.

"There was a particular horse that was being boarded at this facility who essentially had been starved to near death," said Ian Goodhew with the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Stinky was so far gone he could no longer stand, and had to be euthanized. The veterinarian reported the incident and prosecutors have since charged Ridlon with felony animal cruelty.

"Miss Ridlon, the defendant in this case, was being paid by the horse's owner to take care of the horse, feed, shelter, you name it, to make sure that the horse stayed healthy, and that simply was not being done," Goodhew said.

Marty Degele is remodeling a house next door to Ridlon's boarding facility, and is surprised by the cruelty charge.

"I've never actually seen them feed them, but when they ride their own horses they look healthy and responsive," Degele said.

A couple of horses still remain on the Kent property. There used to be as many as eight but prosecutors say other animals beside Stinky were taken away.

"The vet made observations that there were other animals that looked underfed or malnourished," Goodhew said. "Animal control did take some of those animals, but not all of the animals."

Ridlon did not want to talk about the criminal charges or offer any other version of events.

She is out of custody, and goes before a judge on the felony cruelty charge May 1.