RICHLAND CENTER (WKOW) — Nearly a dozen emaciated horses from Richland County have a new home. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office dropped off a trailer of 10 horses to Richland Area Rescue.
Judy Elliott, who runs the rescue said they came from a home where they weren’t getting the food and water they needed to survive.
She said she first heard about them years ago, from a number of concerned citizens.
“I was hoping I would get a call that it’s time to take the horses out of there and save the few that are left,” she said.
Phyllis Pauls, was one of the neighbors who reported the issue to Elliott and the sheriff’s office. She said she too has been follow the horse’s status for years.
“I see pictures today that I’ve never seen before and i just sat and cried,” she said. “Cause it’s that bad.”
Photos sent to Pauls and Elliott show horses so thin their ribs are clearly visible, even pregnant horses appear skin and bones. In some of the more graphic images, horses are lying dead on the ground.
Elliott said she hasn’t been able to intervene because law enforcement hadn’t yet given her the go-ahead.
“I don’t have any authority to seize an animal unless the Sheriff’s department seizes them,” she said.
In the meantime, she said she’s asked people like Pauls to report back what they see and continue asking the authorities to build their case.
“I’ve had family members and friends that drive by everyday and they constantly say there’s no hay, there’s no hay, for the last four weeks out,” Elliott said.
On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office gave Elliot the call she was waiting for. Ten of the horses were on their way to her rescue. She said the owner voluntarily surrendered them.
Sheriff’s deputies wouldn’t confirm the details Elliott described stating they couldn’t comment on an open investigation.
As for the horses, Elliott said not all of the horses from that property made their way to her rescue. Some were sent to other farms. Still, the ones that did arrive at Richland Area Rescue received an immediate veterinary checkup and plenty of food and water.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Office would not comment on whether or not the horses’ owner would face any charges. Without charges, 27 News will not identify the owner, though the owner does have a criminal history involving animal abuse.
Last year the owner was arrested on animal abuse charges and in February, the owner pleaded guilty to intentionally failing to feed the animals.