Yesterday Smith County Justice of the Peace James Cowart awarded custody of 43 rescued quarter horses to the SPCA of East Texas. The Humane Society of the United States, Safe Haven Equine Rescue, the SPCA of East Texas and Humane Society of North Texas, working on a warrant served by the Smith County District Attorney, seized the horses last week from a breeder in Lindale, Texas. According to tylerpaper.com, the owner of the horses is Linda Michael of Legacy Farms.
The horses, including 4 stallions, 1 cryptorchid, approximately 30 mares, and 8-10 babies, were rescued last week after a months-long investigation. Many of the horses were starving and emaciated. Videos taken by HSUS (see below) show evidence the horses had eaten the bark off the trees on the property in an attempt to get some kind of nourishment. Four carcasses were found on the 70-acre property, as well as dozens of sets of bones.
Last Wednesday, the horses were moved to a safe location where they are begin cared for by HSUS staff. Described as friendly, but not broke, they are suffering from parasites and neglected hooves as well as malnutrition. One of the stallions was reportedly running loose with the mares, many of whom are thought to be pregnant.
“These horses may have been struggling to survive for quite some time, but now thanks to everyone involved in this rescue they will receive the care they so desperately need,” said Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director for The HSUS. “It is the responsibility of every horse owner to provide humane, responsible care for their horses at all stages of their lives.”
The horses are thought to be mostly purebred quarter horses, and many are descendants of the popular sire, Smart Chick Olena. It is unknown if any, or all, are registered with AQHA or APHA or if the owner will provide the paperwork. The owner has not yet been charged.
Representatives from the SPCA of East Texas credit the assistance from the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society of North Texas and Safe Haven for making this rescue possible. This seizure comes on the heels of the Collin County Animal Services’ October seizure of 25 quarter horses from a breeder in Wylie, Texas and is the fourth large-scale horse rescue in North Texas in the past two years.
The horses will be available for adoption through the SPCA of East Texas. Interested individuals can email email@example.com for more information and an application. Care and rehab of the horses could cost thousands of dollars. If you’d like to contribute to the cost of caring for them, you can donate online at the SPCA of East Texas website.
The Humane Society of the United States urges horse owners who can no longer care for their horses to explore some of the many humane options available to them:
- Sell the horse to a properly vetted, private owner
- Lease the horse to another horse enthusiast
- Donate the horse to a therapeutic riding center, park police unit or similar program
- Relinquish the horse to a horse rescue or sanctuary
- Consider humane euthanasia.
For more information: SPCA of East Texas, HSUS press release, tylerpaper.com coverage.
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