Horses found in emaciated condition, investigation ongoing

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 17, 2017

The Pearl River County Animal Control Department rescued 18 horses from a farm located on Elbert Mitchell Road in Nicholson Wednesday evening.
Animal Control Officer Danny Joe Slade said the horses vary in age, size, gender and breed and four of them are pregnant. All of them were severely malnourished, he said.
About four or five of them were also suffering from chronic diarrhea, causing discoloration to their tails and legs while others were so emaciated that bones were visible just under the skin, Hancock County Animal Control officer Toni Pickering said.
Pickering helped Slade assess the horses for three days and helped transport them to the Pearl River County Fairgrounds where they are currently being treated, he said.
Officers counted a total of 34 horses on the property. Those that were left behind were in much better condition, Slade said.
A veterinarian was scheduled to assess the rescued horses Wednesday night and make a determination for treatment, or possible euthanization, though Slade said the latter seems unlikely.
Despite their poor condition, Slade said these are the most docile horses he’s ever been around, however most of them don’t know how to lead.
Slade initially visited the farm on Monday to address complaints from neighbors that a carcass had been left near the property line all weekend.
He initially gave the property owner 10 days to get the horses in better condition, but upon further inspection, decided to remove 18 of them.
The matter is still under investigation, Slade said, but charges of neglect could be pressed against the owner for each horse that was removed from the property.
The name of the owner is being withheld pending charges.
The farm that the horses were taken from has been in operation for 42 years, Slade said.
The property owner is cooperating with the investigation, he said.
After the veterinarian completes the assessment, the horses will be transferred to foster homes pending a court case.
If a court rules that the horses cannot be returned to their owner, they will be put up for adoption, Slade said.
Moving forward, he will conduct bi-weekly follow-up visits to the farm to determine if the remaining 16 horses need to be removed.
The pregnant horses are expected to give birth within 60 days, he said.

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About Julia Arenstam

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