A $10,000 bench warrant was issued for a Centralia man on Tuesday after he didn’t appear in Lewis County Superior Court to fulfill a summons on accusations that he allegedly abused two horses while they were in his care.
Isaac A. Knee, 31, has been charged with two counts of first-degree felony animal cruelty. Maximum punishment for a single count is up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
According to court records, Knee allegedly abused the horses on or around the timeframe of July 1 to Sept. 19, 2022. Specifically, Knee is accused of starving two horses, an Arabian mare named Sparkie and a chestnut stallion named Peanut.
Court records include a veterinarian’s testimony that the horses underwent “substantial pain and suffering” over a sufficiently long period of time. The veterinarian wrote the suffering was “unjustifiable.”
Knee’s affidavit for probable cause states that on Sept. 9, 2022, a deputy with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the 2400 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia to investigate a report of possible animal abuse.
There, he spoke with the owner of a pony on the property, who told him the other two equines belonged to Knee.
The deputy wrote in a report the two horses looked “extremely malnourished” and on one, bones were visible through the skin. The report also stated there was orchard grass and grain present on the property.
The deputy contacted Lewis County Humane Officer Alishia Hornburg, who said Knee had been the subject of numerous complaints for his horse care.
Hornburg wrote a search warrant and arranged for a veterinarian to accompany her to the property on Sept. 20. The day before, she received a call from Alesha Erickson, a woman who had picked up the two “emaciated” horses from Knee and wanted to report their condition to animal control, the affidavit states.
The veterinarian, Dr. Michael Clark, reportedly visited Erickson and evaluated the horses. On a body condition scale of one to nine — one being emaciated, five being normal and nine being obese — Clark rated both horses a one. The Arabian mare also had a wound that Erickson said was worse when she first picked up the horses, documents state.
According to the records, Clark said it takes several months to starve a horse to the condition where he found Sparkie and Peanut. Clark’s practice works solely with horses and the affidavit lists him as an expert in the field.
Knee, too, claimed to be a horse trainer and breeder, states the affidavit. It continues: “Knee had the ability to feed these horses properly and did not do so over the course of several months, which resulted in the animals being starved.”
Charges were filed against Knee in Lewis County Superior Court on Jan. 19.