Ex-racehorse found dead; two others malnourished

Ex-racehorse found dead; two others malnourished
AUBURN, Wash. -- An ex-racehorse was found dead and two others have been found malnourished in Auburn.

Now, the racing community is furious and is demanding an investigation of the woman who had promised to save those horses.

Just three months ago, Tuker was healthy and considered fat. But now you can see his ribs. The thoroughbred was sold from an Auburn ranch in September in good health. Five days ago, Skagit County Sheriff's deputies brought him back, near death.

"He just walks lethargic," said horse caretaker Karen Angelos.

All Tuker wants to do is eat. His rib bones poking through his coat makes Angelos think he hasn't been fed since he left their ranch three months ago. Deputies say the horse was so hungry, he ate the wood right off a fence post.

Tuker's hips are sunken in and so are his eyes, and sores are all over his body.

"It's just so sad, it's just an empty feeling," Angelos said.

Tuker is one of three horses that retired from racing at Emerald Downs in September. All of them were sold to the same Skagit Valley woman.

"Everything looked right with this gal and we thought they would be in good hands," said horse trainer Melody Slocum. "We thought she was nice."

In November, the new owner missed a payment on the horses. Melody thought the woman hit a financial rough patch.

It wasn't until last week they learned the horses were allegedly being neglected. And one of them, Slew City Gem, who just ran her final laps at Emerald Downs last year, may have died from starvation.

"We got a call from the Sheriff saying she's dead and probably starved to death and her body was thrown over a cliff," Angelos said.

"To find out they starved her to death, it's a bad feeling," Slocum said.

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office is investigating, and horse lovers are demanding criminal charges. A third horse involved has also been located, but it's not clear yet what its condition is.