Washington farmer charged with animal abuse gets cows back

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A northwest Washington farmer charged in April with starving his animals to death has avoided felony convictions and will get several surviving cows back.

The Bellingham Herald reports that 35-year-old Seth Snook, owner of Snook Brook Farms, entered an agreement in court Tuesday that dismisses three felony counts of animal cruelty. Two misdemeanor counts will also be dismissed if Snook keeps a clean record.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis approved a plan where Snook's farm must be inspected monthly by a licensed veterinarian.

Court records show investigators found starved animals, as well as carcasses of cows and pigs, at the farm in Ferndale. An animal control report found at least 28 animals were starving or starved.

Snook's defense attorney called the animal control report was misleading. Emily Beschen said two animals didn't belong to Snook and that the cows were not starved but in a so-called dry period when dairy cows look slimmest.