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Neglected and starving horses on W. Tenn. farm owned by police investigator

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Animal rescuers from Redemption Road Rescue in Lauderdale County are very concerned about six neglected and starving horses on a farm in Gates, Tennessee reported the horse rescue on their Facebook page.

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According to the founder of the rescue, Lori Collins, who had been out to the pasture owned by Tommy Willette and saw the "horrendous" condition of three horses, two miniature horses and one colt, said the animals bones were protruding out of their bodies. The group took photos of the terribly emaciated horses and are worried that some of them will die. When dealing with horses that have been victims of long term starvation and neglect, it is extremely important to bring them slowly back to health with controlled feeding regimens.

The horses are owned by Mark Crooke, an investigator with the Ripley Tennessee Police Department, and according to myfoxmemphis, The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department called in Veterinarian Leslie Young to conduct Equine Identification Reports to assess the body conditions of the horses.

Crooke had been using three acres of Willette's pasture land for his horses since 2013. The only conditions were for Crook to feed and water his horses and maintain the fencing. When Willette observed the horses getting thin several months ago, he contacted Crooke who finally dropped one bale of hay off for the horses, but failed to remove the plastic covering. Once the plastic was removed from the bale, Willette reported the horses were so starved that they ate the two week supply of hay in four days.

J.C. Dupree of UT Martin Extension Office is investigating the matter and stated that three of the horses were in poor condition, and has now relocated the horses. According to horse advocates posting on the Redemption Road Rescue Facebook page, the horses have been moved to a pasture at 2515 Hwy 19 E. The owner of the horses, Mark Crooke, has been instructed to call a veterinarian and supply quality hay for the horses.

There have been no charges filed pending an investigation with the District Attorney General Mike Dunavant.

According to the Jackson Sun, Dupree states the situation "has been resolved" and that Crook had "complied to all of my requests" and that the horses now have been given "plenty of pasture."

Redemption Road Rescue volunteers are still extremely upset. On Tuesday, Lori posted the following on the organization's Facebook page:

"Latest on the starving horses--Lauderdale County, Gates City horses UPDATE TO FOLLOW AS SOON AS WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION. As of now, RRR has been shut out of any and all procedures regarding these horses, but we promise you that we have not forgotten and will NOT give up on them."

Check out the photos of the horses. What is your opinion of their condition?

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