Fifteen starved and emaciated horses, many on the brink of death, were removed [with warrant] from a ranch on Oak Island Road, Somerset, Bexar County, Texas. Three decomposing dead horses, believed to have died of dehydration, were also found on the small property. Officials fear the owner is hiding other injured or malnourished horses destined for slaughter in Mexico.
The as-yet-unidentified owner of these horses faces at least 19 counts of animal cruelty.
All 15 horses were in appalling condition. Some of the animals were wasted, skeletal and near death. Most of them were in obvious pain from sand burns and open sores. [Note: Sand burns occur when a starving horse subsists on whatever it can find to eat and it consumes milkweed. This plant causes a hyper-sensitivity in the horse to sunlight. The result is dreadful – the horse is burned from the inside out.] Pictures taken of the confiscated horses reveal their horrific condition.
All of the horses were brought to the Meadow Haven Horse Rescue located in Nixon, Texas. Owner Darla Cherry, in an interview with MailOnline, said that all of the horses were suffering from the worst case of sand burns.
Cherry also said,
This is the worst case of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.
Cherry’s organization was called by the sheriff's office for help. The horses were starving and seriously dehydrated. She believes all of the animals were about to be transported to slaughter.
At this writing, all of the horses remain alive and are showing some improvement. A few of the horses are in such serious shape, that Cherry is still not certain they can survive.
Meadow Haven plans to ask for custody of the 15 horses at the hearing, expected to take place on September 12. The nonprofit organization already cares for 150 horses. If the horses are placed into Meadow Haven’s care, the hope is to fully restore them to better health and rehome them to loving owners.
Neighbors called the authorities to complain about the stench emanating from the 8-acre lot.
In Texas, a guilty charge for animal cruelty can result in a fine of $10,000 and two years in jail.
This case remains under investigation.
If you enjoyed this article by Heidi Rucki, please click the link above to subscribe and get others. It’s free, informative and anonymous. Read Rucki's articles on Examiner.com.