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Warrant issued for Washington State woman facing horse cruelty charges, likely fleeing says prosecutor

Prosecutors say she is fleeing the State in violation of release conditions imposed by the court.

Kristi Lynn Finch, 59, has had a warrant issued by an Island County Superior Court Judge after failing to appear for multiple hearings. A Deputy Prosecutor has alleged Finch is planning to flee Washington State.

Coupeville, Wash. – A woman from Island County in Washington State and charged with numerous counts of animal cruelty has had a warrant issued for her arrest after failing to appear at multiple recent hearings in Island County Superior Count.

Kristi Lynn Finch, 59, and her attorney both failed to attend a trial readiness hearing on Nov. 20th, leading the judge to reschedule a week later.

Over Christmas in 2022, the Island County Sheriff’s Office found itself in the midst of an investigation at Finch’s property after two horses were found dead on the property outside Oak Harbor, allegedly due to starvation.

The story, initially broken by Equestrian Media Group last December, also included the prompt execution of a search warrant on the property after investigators were not allowed into the residence.

Another fifty-plus dogs and cats were seized and evaluated by veterinarians, some allegedly in horrific conditions and severely emancipated. Twelve horses were also seized with the assistance of Safe Equine and Pasado Safe Haven and placed into foster homes until the animals were later forfeited through a civil proceeding tied to the case against Lynch.

Over a decade ago Finch was also charged with felony animal cruelty in Skagit County in connection with her “aussie” breading business, Ausland Aussie’s.

On Nov 27th, Eric Lewis, Finch’s attorney, did finally appear at the rescheduled hearing. However, Finch herself was again a no-show. Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom requested that Judge Christon Skinner issue a warrant for her arrest on a $10,000 bond. Countless advocates on social media promptly questioned why a warrant was not issued then, or why Finch’s attorney did not face any sanction by the court.

During the court proceeding, Safstrom stated he had reason to believe that Finch was preparing to leave the state to set up a new animal breeding facility– a move that would put her in direct violation of her court-ordered release agreement by leaving the state.

Safstrom also claimed that Finch did not want to appear via telephone as she might be concerned about being asked where she was– but ultimately admitted he didn’t have any reliable information on Finch’s actual whereabouts. Salfstrom also made note that Finch is presently charged with tampering with a witness– demonstrating her disregard for the court’s instructions.

Lewis stated that he had been in contact with his client within recent days but had no knowledge of why she failed to attend the hearing. He stated that Finch had attended all previous hearings before not appearing on Nov 20th, and suggested a $1,000 bond on the warrant.

Judge Skiller issued a warrant for Finch’s arrest at $2,500.

A source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, stated they believed Finch was likely headed to Mississippi. Earlier this year, Finch requested permission to visit her daughter in Mississippi but was denied by the Judge.

Following hearings related to forfeiture throughout the summer, which Finch fought against unsuccessfully, she has gone through two previous attorneys prior to Lewis. Her first attorney had a conflict of interest and the second attorney filed a motion to terminate representation due to disagreements with Finch related to defense strategy.

If you have information on Finch’s whereabouts you can contact the Island County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 678-4422 or email their tip line at tips@islandcountywa.gov

This is a developing story that we will keep you updated on. Additional updates on this story will be included shortly.


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