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Four horses and pony seized

By Staff | Jan 9, 2012

PICTURE ROCKS – Four neglected and malnourished horses and a pony were seized last week by the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from a Highland Lake Road property in Shrewsbury Township.

“I have been counseling the owners for several months on the ways to properly care for the animals. I have been monitoring the situation, but to no avail,” Larry Woltz, a humane officer for the SPCA, said last Wednesday morning.

“The conditions continued to deteriorate to the point that it was necessary for the SPCA, along with the Appalachian Horse Help and Rescue of Linden, to remove the horses and the pony,” Woltz said.

“There was no pasture grass for them. They became emaciated. They were about to collapse if they were not rescued,” Woltz said. One horse was walking with a limp and its backbone, rib cage and hip bones were showing.

He declined to identify the owners by name, saying that information will be released when charges are filed at the office of District Judge Jon E. Kemp against the couple, who live at 907 Highland Lake Road.

The animals are suffering from malnutrition and other medical problems brought on by neglect and the lack of housing.

“Because of the extreme frigid temperatures, I really didn’t think they would survive in the environment they were in,” Woltz said. “They were being kept in what we call ‘wooded run-in shelters.’ But the area was completely covered with frozen, icy piles of manure. There was no dry area where they could recline,” Woltz said.

“The horses were lacking body fat. They were living off their muscle. They had no insulation and were suffering from rain rot, a condition brought on when horses lose their coat of hair,” Woltz explained. If not caught in time, the animals can catch pneumonia and other chronic conditions, he said.

The horses and pony are safely sheltered in a “rescue barn,” and are being treated by a veterinarian, Woltz said.

“I do expect the animals to survive with proper care, but it will take time,” he said.

The SPCA will petition the court to take ownership of the horses and the pony, Woltz said. If the agency is successful, the animals will be adopted out, he added.

Whenever the region is hit with a frigid cold front like this week, it is imperative that even large animals, such as cows and horses, are kept in dry, wind-proof bedded shelters with adequate food and fresh water, Woltz said.

Woltz said a veterinarian examined the horses and said their health is improving.