Twelve malnourished and injured horses and the carcasses of two horses investigators were too late to save.
That was the terrible discovery that rocked investigators at a horse ranch in Simi Valley, California on June 29th.
Rescuers estimate that the horses they found had been fed only three times a week. To put that in perspective, it is recommended that the average horse be fed twice a day.
In fact, some of the horses had been so poorly cared for that they could not chew and swallow. This is because, unlike human teeth, horse teeth continually grow and so many horses periodically need a procedure called “floating” that uses a file or rasp to smooth down the teeth so they do not develop sharp edges.
Floating had not been performed on the mistreated horses for some time and this resulted in significant and painful damage to their mouths. So, not only did the horses receive too little food — they could not eat what they did get.
Reports say the horses may have been in this desperate condition for up to eight months. It is still unclear why this appalling neglect went on for so long.
The Humane Society of Ventura County is investigating the unnamed owner of the ranch. He’s been described as a possible “hoarder” who ended up with more horses than he was prepared to deal with.
In terms of the histories of the horses, one of the two fatalities may have been a former racehorse left to die after breaking a leg at the ranch. The other reportedly was a mare that died with her colt nearby after slipping between some rocks. Both deaths were almost certainly long and agonizing. Nothing was left of either horse but skeletal remains.
Auction Horses Rescue posted this video on Facebook and YouTube, documenting the discovery of the skeletal remains that were found at the scene (warning: graphic images):
David Ramey, a veterinarian recently hired by a ranch caretaker to assist with the horses, told KTLA he believes all the attention focused on this situation is “an overreaction.”
Auction Horses Rescue disagrees and removed four of the horses from the premises on June 29th, the group reported on its Facebook page. A friend of the rancher has relocated two others, they said.
Fortunately some of the seized horses have already been adopted, but six others remain at the ranch while authorities search for new homes for them.
In addition to rescue operations like this one, Auction Horses Rescue regularly attends horse auctions held in Los Angeles and southern California.
The group began with the aim of reuniting horses, particularly ex-racehorses, with former owners or caretakers who might not know the sad slaughter-bound fate of their old equine friends. Taking phone calls on the fly during auctions, Auction Horses Rescue’s volunteers assist individuals who want to buy horses to save them from being purchased by “kill buyers” for slaughter.
Hopefully the abused horses AHR rescued from the Simi Valley ranch can now rest easy knowing they will be fed, loved and well cared for until they can find new forever homes.
Care2 Action: Please help make sure the horses in this case receive justice by signing the petition below.
Image credit: YouTube video.