Horse owners urged to call Animal Control

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Unclaimed horses from now-closed business set to transfer to new ownership


Anyone who believes they left their horse to be boarded at Paws Ranch Equine Rescue in Bostic where 23 horses were recently seized has been asked by Rutherford County to contact its Animal Control department and claim them.

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Delores Hanser, 63, of Bostic and owner of the now-closed business was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty, which is a misdemeanor. She posted a $10,000 court bond and was released.


Polk and Rutherford County animal control officers teamed to seize the animals. Two horses had to be euthanized on the scene. The others, many of whom were in various stages of poor health, were taken in by Rutherford County and various rescue facilities and farmers. Some horse owners who left their animal at Paws Ranch later said the horses went missing.


“If you believe you may be the owner of a horse in the county’s custody and can provide documentation of ownership, please contact Animal Control staff at 828-287-6025 no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, March 24,” the county announced. After that date, unclaimed horses will be transferred to new ownership, with most going to operating equine rescues.


The handful of horses in question were apparently a few that Hanser said owners had left with her for boarding. She apparently doesn’t have records of the owners.


The state of North Carolina has been awarded ownership of all the horses seized because Hanser failed to put up sufficient funds to cover the cost of seizure, feeding and medical care they have been receiving since their seizure. That amount was estimated to be nearly $80,000.


Hanser is due to appear in Rutherford County District Court on April 12 to answer the animal cruelty charges.