Equines impounded due to starvation

Published 11:58 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

One of six mares impounded from a property in Lynn by local animal cruelty investigators. (photo submitted)

Animal cruelty investigators impounded six equines last week from a property in Lynn, having to euthanize one of the horses because of starvation.

Investigator Margo Savage said the living conditions of the four horses, one pony and a donkey were “horrific.”

“Three of the other animals were knee deep in feces and urine, but unfortunately that is not against the law in Polk County,” Savage said. “They were in dismal living conditions but what is illegal is the fact that none of them had food or water.”

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In this case, a utilities worker had visited the property in Lynn to read a meter and had seen one of the horses lying down and barely moving. Savage said the man had the feeling that the horse was dying and called animal control.

Savage said when animal cruelty investigators arrived on scene they found the animals were very thin.

Deciding when an equine is too thin is based on a scale of 1-9. Equines, Savage said, should fall optimally around a 5, based on their weight. She said many equines could be considered in perfect health at a 4, because some simply are thinner than others. But she said animal cruelty investigators become concerned when an equine registers at a 3 on the scale.

At this point the equines’ ribs can typically be seen sticking out from their bodies. She said most of these equines registered at a 2, but the one horse that had to be euthanized was a 1, meaning it was starving to death.

The equines on this property were living without water or food, Savage said.

The only source of water near one horse was a bucket of water covered with green slime. She said another horse was free on the property and was in good shape, but there was an open gate to the road, which Savage felt could have allowed the horse to run out onto Hwy. 108 at any time. Savage said the one horse was in a pen 30×30 with nails and scaffolding surrounding her.