Update: Deputy describes horses as ‘skin and bones’Published 2:59pm Friday, January 11, 2013
3 horses removed from home, 1 has died, after alleged animal neglect
ALBERT LEA — The Freeborn County Sheriff’s office is investigating allegations of neglect to three horses and a pony — one of which died this week — at a rural Oakland property.
The Appaloosa horse that died was reportedly emaciated and described as “like skin and bones” by sheriff’s deputy Ron Wacholz, who saw the horse Wednesday prior to its death.
Freeborn County Sheriff Bob Kindler said officials have not filed any charges as of Friday morning, and wouldn’t release the names of the owners. The Sheriff’s office is waiting for the completion of examinations, and hopes to have more information Monday.
Walcholz and representatives from the Freeborn County Humane Society took the remaining animals — two Arabian horses and one Shetland pony — from 23939 885th Ave., which is about six miles northwest of Austin, with a search warrant on Thursday.
The deputy found the horses under a shelter with a sagging roof. The shelter was too small for four animals to fit comfortably, the deputy said, adding that the Appaloosa horse was lying distressed on the ground and trying to stand up. It died overnight.
Though there was water for the horses, the open water tank was covered in algae, he said. There was poor-quality hay and no corn, oats or barley. The ground was covered in feces.
Freeborn County Humane Society Director Christa Stieler said she believes the remaining horses and pony may have worms or some other parasite, and are bloated because of it. That, combined with the animals’ winter coats, makes it difficult to see their true condition, Stieler said.
A veterinarian will exam the animals in the next couple days.
Wacholz said the owners have the right to contest the search warrant and the validity of the complaint within 10 days. If the owners do not, the animals are forfeited to the Humane Society.
“We’re going to be working hard over these next 10 days,” Stieler said. “These three need to be placed in permanent homes.”