Sharon Hunter, operator of the Redmond-based Hunters Wind Wild Horse Rescue, is accused of animal cruelty after purchasing horses, in an attempt to save them from slaughter. Some of those horses ended up in Enumclaw. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo.

Sharon Hunter, operator of the Redmond-based Hunters Wind Wild Horse Rescue, is accused of animal cruelty after purchasing horses, in an attempt to save them from slaughter. Some of those horses ended up in Enumclaw. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo.

Horses seized in Enumclaw after allegations of hoarding, abandonment

Sharon Hunter said the horses would be staying on the land for just a few weeks — but it’s alleged she more or less abandoned them there.

The King County Sheriff’s Office recently raided a Plateau home and took custody of 25 horses after receiving tips concerning animal abuse.

According to Sgt. Ryan Abbott, deputies went to the home on the 38300 block of 324rd Place SE on Saturday, Dec. 7, after the homeowner called SAFE —the Save A Forgotten Equine rescue organization — about the two dozen horses on her land.

The horses reportedly belong to a woman named Sharon Hunter, who is the owner of Hunter’s Wind Wild Horse Rescue, a nonprofit based in Redmond. According to Abbott, Hunter asked the homeowner to house some horses for a few weeks while Hunter found a more permanent home for them.

However, several reports were made to SAFE stating Hunter wasn’t feeding the horses, nor was there any shelter as the weather started to get colder.

SAFE has taken custody of the horses, which are now up for adoption.

The Redmond Reporter published an article about Hunter and her nonprofit last September. According to the paper, Hunter’s Wind Wild Horse Rescue started out taking in horses scheduled to be killed, but it was unknown if any of the horses were being put up for adoption. The number of horses Hunter owns is unclear, but at one time was estimated to number more than 100.

A photo of Sharon Hunter, pulled from a GoFundMe created to raise money to buy hay for horses. Hunter is being accused of hoarding horses around Washington.

A photo of Sharon Hunter, pulled from a GoFundMe created to raise money to buy hay for horses. Hunter is being accused of hoarding horses around Washington.

In February 2018, the Snohomish County Animal Services received a complaint about some horses much in the same situation as the ones seized in Enumclaw — Hunter reportedly approached the homeowners to board the horses on their land, but allegedly failed to care for them.

According to the Reporter, law officers and veterinarians found one horse lying in his own feces and urine, severely malnourished, as well as other horses that were wounded, underweight, and infected.

Hunter was charged with six counts of second-degree animal cruelty in Snohomish County.

Since then, King County has seized horses from an Auburn herd of 80 in August, where there were more allegations of undernourishment and abandonment.

Additionally, there was an issue in Fall City with a herd of 40 after property owners sent a notice to Hunter they wanted her horses off their land. After the deadline to move the horses passed, SAFE attempted to help adopt out some of the horses, but were told to cease and desist by Hunter, who was then allowed to take the 25 horses to move elsewhere.

It’s been speculated those 25 horses were then moved to Enumclaw.

“The truth is that she’s got groups of horses that she’s just shuffling from one place to another. Either she gets thrown off a property, or law enforcement’s getting too close or what have you,” Bonnie Hammond, executive director of SAFE, said in an interview with the Reporter. “She’ll tell stories about saving America’s wild horses and all this really romantic stuff. But in truth, she’s just stockpiling them and they sit and they fight with each other and the stallions breed with the mares.

“I would like her to stop acquiring horses,” she continued. “She needs to stop doing this and the scary thing is, there’s still plenty of horses out there. She could get them from the auctions by the truckload.”

A GoFundMe page for Hunter was created in August to raise money for emergency hay for the horses; only about $300 was raised.

Contact information for Hunter could not be found before deadline; it appears the nonprofit’s Facebook page has been disabled.

More in Northwest

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, was sworn in Jan. 13, 2020, as Speaker of the House. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Jinkins sworn in as WA’s first female Speaker of the House

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, is applauded by her colleagues as she becomes… Continue reading

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

Meet the group trying to electrify America’s railroads

The Backbone Campaign hopes it will reduce emissions and jump-start depressed communities.

Most Read