Tragic Discovery: 12 Starving Horses And Skeletal Remains

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.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Megan Gaynes, leader of California-based horse rescue group Auction Horses Rescue (AHR), told KTLA Channel 5. “I’ve never encountered dead animals.”

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.

As a result the horses were thin, with ribs plainly visible. One had a serious open wound.

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.


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

Holy f#$% what is wrong with people?!?

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania P4 years ago

Signed.... No words!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright4 years ago

Speechless.....................petition signed and shared. RIP dear ones

Tracy Guinn
Tracy Guinn4 years ago

HA the story probably won't end there. Some of these abusers will wait until the horses have been brought back to health and then have the nerve to sue the rescuers stating that the horses were not near death to begin with and were wrongly taken. I know a man here who owns a rescue and this happens to him all the time. He documents carefully everything that was done and not one single owner that had there animals confiscated believes they should pay for the food, medicine, surgery, or anything else that was done to prevent their animals from dying. Instead they want money for the pain and suffering that was caused to themselves. While so far no animals have been returned or money paid out directly it still costs the rescues a great deal of money in court costs and lawyer fees.

JACQUI GLYDE4 years ago

Hoarder or not! Don't these bastards have a conscience?

federico bortoletto
federico b4 years ago

Condiviso ma non firmato.....c'è qualche problema.

Didi Magnin
Didi Magnin4 years ago

What sort of vet is David Ramey? Does he even have a vet's licence? It should be revoked AT ONCE!

B Jackson
BJ J4 years ago

Animal abusers are teaching me to hate!! Hope to hell I NEVER knowingly meet one.

Manuela C.
Manuela C4 years ago

Awful and sad... petition signed!