Darlene Wilson ordered to surrender horses


In a process that approached group therapy more than a traditional judicial proceeding, Judge Pat O’Malley instructed Roy horsewoman Darlene Wilson to surrender her eleven horses as a result of her April 3 conviction on three counts of animal cruelty in the second degree.  O’Malley made his ruling after a lengthy deliberation as part of Wilson’s sentencing appearance in District Court, Thursday, April 14.

The unusual proceedings unfolded as Pierce County deputy prosecutor Susan Mason delivered her sentencing recommendations and asked that Wilson be required to surrender her eleven horses that she still keeps on her  property.

Following Mason’s recommendation, Darlene Wilson dropped a bombshell in the courtroom by announcing that she no longer owns the eleven horses, and incredibly claimed that she had sold the animals in December even though she apparently had never mentioned that fact to the court during her four-day trial in early April.

Wilson offered no proof of her claim, such as bill of sale, and further claimed that the new owner needed to keep the horses at Wilson’s Carousel Stables as she had no facilities of her own sufficient to provide independent care and shelter.

In addition, Wilson said the new owner, not identified by name in court Thursday, was now paying rent to Wilson, and she petitioned Judge O’Malley to allow the animals to stay because she needed the money to supplement her meager Social Security check, her only other source of income.

This announcement seemed to put Judge O’Malley into a bit of a tizzy, and he began a strategy session with the prosecution and defense attorneys as to how best to care for the horses and keep Ms. Wilson afloat financially.  He suggested a plan by which PCAC could make impromptu appearances at Carousel Stables to insure that the horses were properly maintained.

Ms Mason strenuously objected to that notion, and to any other scheme that would allow Wilson to keep horses on her property.

“This would put us back at square one, you Honor,” Mason said.  “Horses would still be at Darlene Wilson’s and they would be dependent upon others for their care – that’s what got us here in the first place.”

Mason added that even with Darlene’s conviction two weeks prior, Animal Control continues to receive complaints from the public about Wilson’s activities at Carousel Stables, and Mason specifically mentioned that Wilson had received more horses for boarding, with a current total of fourteen horses now stabled on Wilson’s property.

“I’m concerned of a repeat of the abuses, your Honor,” Mason declared.

In addition, both the defense and prosecution argued that any monitoring service conducted by the county’s animal control agency would ultimately prove to be unworkable because of legalities and staffing shortages.

At this point, O’Malley clearly realized it was time to make a definitive decision.

He ruled that Darlene can not own any horses for two years.

In addition, Judge O’Malley ordered that for the horses currently on the property to remain, Ms. Wilson had 90 days in which to craft a “proper management contract with a third party” to run the stabling operation.  He specifically stated that this arrangement must have the owners(s) identified who will assume all responsibilities for their care and all corresponding liabilities, and the only role Ms. Wilson is to have with these horses is to be a landlord to the lessee(s).

He also ordered Ms. Wilson to allow Animal Control onto her property at any time of their choosing, and to cooperate fully with their efforts to monitor the care of any horses on the property.

Judge O’Malley further ruled that Ms Wilson is to appear back in his courtroom on July 15, 2011 to present these lease documents, “or the horses will have to go.”

Also, O’Malley levied a $1,000 fine per count, plus $350 in costs, for a total of $4,050 in penalties.

O’Malley also ordered Ms. Wilson to undergo a “mental health” assessment to “see how you’re coping.”

Although state law allows up to 90 days of incarceration per count, Judge O’Malley declined to impose any jail time on Ms. Wilson, citing her frail health would excessively burden the country’s limited resources.

Ms. Wilson also spoke at her sentencing, and maintained her innocence by claiming that others had failed to properly care for the horses.  However, she concluded her remarks by saying, “I am truly sorry and I sincerely apologize.”

As for PCAC, their chief, Piece County Auditor Julie Anderson, told the Mountain News that her agency welcomes the opportunity to monitor conditions at Darlene Wilson’s.

“We’re highly invested in this case,” said Ms. Anderson. “We’ve put a lot of time into ensuring that these horses are cared for properly, and the court’s ruling will help us continue to do that.”

©  2011  The Mountain News

Editor’s Note:  We apologize for the variations in font size.  We’re having a problem with floating fonts in our formatting.  If anyone has a suggestion on how to correct it, I would love to hear from you.  – BAS.




Amy Pivetta-Hoffman

Attorney at law

For more information, please see our ad in the column to the right.  You may have to scroll up!

This entry was posted in Cops and courts, Culture, Pets and livestock, Roy News, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Darlene Wilson ordered to surrender horses

  1. loveshorses says:

    I find it incredible that Ms. Wilson continues to flim-flam the authorities with new and unsubstantiated “facts” that buy her more time, while the victims in this scenario remain at her mercy. No animals should be in her care, now or ever again. She has proven over and over that she has neither the resources nor the ability to give them the lives they deserve. Someone needs to make her understand that, regardless of whether or not she loves the animals, she is now unable to give them what they need. Life moves on, and hers should move on without the horses. They are so deserving of a better life.

  2. Hmmm says:

    If the victims in this story were children instead of horses we all would be outraged. For me personally, there is no difference so the sentence is too lenient. Ms. Wilson has worn out the I’m too frail excuse which is not a valid reason to neglect neither an animal nor a child. These are defenseless animals that can not protect themselves from the abuse they have been subjected to. A more suitable punishment would have been to lock Darlene up in the very stalls the horses were in and feed her less than half of what would be the minimum amount of food required for survival. Lock the windows and doors and let her stand, sleep and walk around in her own excriment for two to three years. Mane then she would understand what she has put those animals through for years.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      I understand your sentiments, Kendall, but I am compelled to say in response that eventhough Ms. Wilson abused her horses horribly, she is still entitled by law to serve a sentence free of cruel or inhumane punishment.

      Perhaps one day Darlene will be able to tell us about her life and what kind of care and nurturing she received as a child, and what kinds of loving relationships she had – or not – in adulthood. It may not have been too rosy.

      In the Amy Tan book, “The Joy Luck Club,” the abused daughter confronts her abusing mother, who in turns says, “Who am I to blame – my mother, and who is she to blame, her mother?” or words to that effect. Abuse usually has a history that is like a long ascending ladder, going back far into time.

      May we find the grace and strength not to judge, for we have a lot of work to do caring for those who need our healings efforts.

      • LisaGurley says:

        Well said, Bruce. I hope that no horse will suffer again at the hands or by any cause of Darlene, but her story, as so many others of who have been abused and unloved as children, would be one worth telling if she so chose to. Hatred and anger never solve anything, however forgiveness, compassion, and standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves will change society for the better.

  3. brucesmith49 says:

    Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate your kind words.

    If Darlene Wilson chooses not to speak for herself, perhaps those who have known her well can speak for her, or at least shed a light on how the events at Carousel Stables came to be. What transpired there was not a short-term thing. It was a long-standing series of decisions and behaviors that created the abusive situation.

  4. Jennifer Zynischer says:

    Thank you, Judge.
    Two years is a start. She’ll be back, as these unfortunate souls are blind to their own actions. But two years is a good start.

  5. LadyMuleFarrier says:

    While I appreciate the kindness shown by other commentors on this board, I’m afraid that about the time one reaches majority, one is RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS!!!

    I have one of Darlene’s horses on my property now, and he’s still pathetic and frightened.

    Nearly everyone’s parents do wacky things, sometimes very damaging things. Too bad! Get over it — there simply is NO excuse for what Darlene did. None. I don’t care if her mother waterboarded her, what excuse is that for the horrifying neglect that animals suffered at her hands? When will we stop making excuses for people? Gee, I wonder what Jeffery Dahmer’s mother was like — probably a real piece of work. Do you think we should have sent him to therapy?? Maybe that would have made him alllll better and we could let him babysit our children.

    It it is indeed true that Ms. Wilson is so very pitiful and frail, then what the hell is she doing “boarding” horses at her farm? Really?? She can take care of them if they’re someone else’s, but not if they’re her own?

    My definition of cruel and unusual is clearly different than yours, Mr. Smith. Actually, egregious neglect appears not to be unusual for Ms. Wilson, so there you go. Put her in her own barn. Yep, the barn that required jackhammers and rototillers to loosen the nearly two feet of excrement from the floor so that the horses could get their tails out of the filth and be able to MOVE. Perfect. That would be perfect.

    It is true, however, that I would rather have you than Darlene for a neighbor, Mr. Smith, and I certainly cannot fault or belittle your kindness, I just don’t think that you fully grasp what these animals endured at the hands of this “woman”.

    If she’s not nuts, she’s a criminal who shouldn’t be near horses. If she’s nuts, she should be somewhere safe and not near horses. Either way, NO HORSES should ever be forced to depend on Darlene Wilson for anything. Ever.

  6. brucesmith49 says:

    I fully support the court’s decision to compel Ms. Wilson to receive a mental health evaluation and to divest herself of all horses for at least two years. When I visited Ms. Wilson’s stables in covering this story, the conditions were so extreme I had to wear a dual-stage respirator in order to breathe.

  7. vicky says:

    Judge got sucked in, methinks.

  8. anuttama says:

    I don’t get it that so many people are outraged at the treatment of horses and yet they support the meat industry that treats poor creatures deplorably. The standard for the chicken industry is four birds per one foot cage. They have to cut the birds’ beaks off to keep them from killing each other because they’re so crowded. Yes, apparently Darlene is guilty, but everyone who eats chicken McNuggets is also guilty of supporting cruelty. Perhaps we should analyze our own behavior before condemning others?

    • Lil Morgan says:

      Precisely why I am a vegetarian; I can’t change the process. I can only refuse to be a part of it.

  9. brucesmith49 says:

    The issue of Darlene Wilson, and abused animals in general, is touching a very deep nerve in Mountain News readers. Our site received 1,127 hits yesterday, with about 900 of them attributed to those reading this piece on the sentencing of Ms. Wilson. That is 250% more than the next highest daily readership, which was 437, and that daily total was to read the news on her conviction.

    These stats are in stark constrast to our daily average of 200 hits.

  10. LadyMuleFarrier says:

    I’m glad to know that the Mountain News is publishing stories like these. Americans generally are an animal loving group, and we tend to root for the little guy – the underdog. Our ire is raised when we see bad things happening to creatures, be they human or otherwise, who don’t deserve it.

    We’re grateful for your honest coverage, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to your detailed report of the proceedings yet to come in this case.

    Thank you!

    PS To Marketing – people LOOOVE feel-good stories about animals…. Oh, and encourage locavorism — you may be surprised at the attention you receive 😉

  11. Abuse no more says:

    So tell me this if Darlene sold those horses and the lady apparently bought them for $1 each why are they still allowed to stay in her barn under her care? Why is this lady never around? Is she abandoning her new string of 11 arabs with matted and urine/feces soaked coats. Maybe we should find her and bring her to court for abandonment. She told the judge she needed the ladies money for the board in order to survive. Yet she is providing all their hay and feeding morning and night because the other people in the barn refuse to do it free of charge for her. She has two horses in stalls with padlocks on them. She is also claiming that she is caring for them. I thought the sentence said she couldn’t be in charge of any care on any horses. Darlene is living in a 5th wheel trailer on her property which is against city code. If you are so hard off and can’t afford the horses then move. You’ve already apparently sold all the horses. So sell your place and move into a retirement home or something.

  12. I C U Pking says:

    First of all let me say this wrong is wrong. Second of all if you steal hay and not pay your board don’t try to come off so self righteous (no more abuse aka Bobby Joe) You my friend are a thief.
    You talk about her living in a fifth wheel so why did you steal from her. Yes she was convicted, some of it is her fault. But what about all you thieves who played a part in this mess. This is my opinion for what it is worth. Then there are those of you who exagerate what can I say hope that your house is not built out of glass. Trying to figure out who I am . Keep trying

  13. Pingback: Court postpones sentence review in Darlene Wilson horse abuse case | The Mountain News – WA

  14. Abuse no more says:

    I’m not Bobbi Jo….Keep trying. Nothing has been exagerated and this was all witnessed 1st hand.

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