An Oregon woman was found guilty earlier today of animal neglect by a Clackamas County Judge after State prosecutors argued she failed to maintain the minimum required care of her now former horse. The core of the issue was the horse’s inability to stand due to severely overgrown hooves. Wyant also waived her right to a jury trial, allowing the presiding judge Ulanda Watkins to decide both her guilt and sentence.
Angelic “Angel” Wyant, 59, had charges brought by the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office late last year following investigations conducted by special agents with the Oregon Humane Society.
The investigation into Wyant was prompted after a veterinarian and volunteers with the non-profit horse rescue, Sound Equine Options, were called to Wyant’s Molalla area property on the evening of September 10th, 2020, to assist with evacuating one of Wyant’s six horses.
The horse, a stallion quarterhorse named Muddy, was left behind and needed to be evacuated quickly due to a wildfire that was looming over the area. During the trial, Dr. David Asmar of Eagle Fern Equine Hospital testified that they had to go around barricades even access the property. Asmar was called to testify by the State as an expert witness.
Asmar and the SEO volunteer who testified during the trial elaborated on the evacuation efforts. They explained it took around 2-hours of time just to move Muddy just 70 yards in order to load him in a trailer.
Wyants attorney, Geordie Duckler, argued that his client should not be found guilty of the charges because she had made multiple attempts over the years with farriers and veterinarians to provide hoof care, explaining it was out of her reasonable control and circumstances. He also mentioned that his client did indeed surrender the horse to Sound Equine Options.
Deputy District Attorney Rachel Erickson countered during closing arguments that Wyant only made the decision to surrender the horse after the discovery of Muddy’s condition, despite having not made any attempt to surrender the horse for years prior when she was aware of multiple resources. This was also after a criminal investigation by the Oregon Humane Society special agents had been started.
Wyant was the last to testify, a decision that also subjected her to cross examination by the prosecution. Towards the end of cross examination, Wyant became emotional when responding to the questioning, prompting the judge to order a 10-minute recess before her attorney proceeded with redirect.
The guilty verdict appeared bitter sweet for some, including those involved with Sound Equine Options who now have ownership and custody of Muddy. Muddy continues his lengthy rehabilitation.
“Thank you to the Clackamas County District Attorneys Office for stepping up and recognizing how important these animal neglect cases are to our community. No horse should suffer, especially due to lack of adequate care from its owner.” said SEO’s Executive Director, Kim Mosiman.
Sound Equine Options is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization co-founded by Mosiman and Dr. Scott Hansen in 2009. She spent 20 years in the veterinary field. They frequently work with various law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Humane Society.
SEO has notably been involved in two major cases of animal neglect in recent memory involving around 50 horses in each case. The first involved the late 2019 case of Gwenyth Davies in Lane County, Oregon. She took a plea deal with prosecutors but later was found to be violating her probation terms. A more recent case involves Susan Swango who had 48 horses and 7 cats seized by the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office in February of this year. She now faces 55 counts of felony animal neglect and a single charge for fraudulent use of a credit card.
We asked Mosiman on her thoughts about Muddy’s recovery after being rescued from Wyant, “At first, we were not sure if Muddy could recover, but he has surprised us all with his slow but steady progress. Muddy still has a ways to go in his rehabilitation but all signs point to bright and pain free future.” said Mosiman.
Wyant’s attorney has declined all requests to date for comment. Upon leaving the courthouse, Wyant personally made a short statement but ultimately declined to answer further questions. “It was an emergency, and I thought it was bull [explitive removed] that it got cancelled on me” she said.
While Wyant claimed that she learned about SEO around 2015 while on the stand, she added to that claim in her brief statement to NW Horse Report that she had also contacted SEO that same year asking for assistance.
Sound Equine Options responded by explaining it would be difficult to determine if Wyant actually had contacted them so many years ago. If she had, even if they may not have been able to take in an untrained stallion in at that time due to limited resources, they stated they would have still worked with Wyant to offer gelding assistance and other advice on how an owner could help their horse.
To date, SEO said the bills for Muddy’s care are well over $3,000, but that’s not including all of the care and training labor, which likely accounts for a much larger expense.
Wyant was released from the court and sentencing was scheduled for August 23rd.
This article was corrected shortly after publishing to correct the spelling of Asmar from Asmer as well as to correct the last name of the prosecutor from Klein to Erickson.