16 horses were rescued in Williston after they were left to starve

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT
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WILLISTON, Fla. (WCJB) - Levy County Sheriffs’ deputies are investigating an animal neglect case. They said 16 horses were left to starve in Williston.

On July 27th, deputies first checked on the horses, when a concerned resident called in.

“In the case of our July investigation all the horses were fine on the scale and we didn’t have anything further we need to follow up on,” shared LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond. “The horses were being cared for they had food water and shelter at that time.”

Months later, they returned to the property to find starved horses. Deputies said this is a felony investigation and they will be identifying the owner and caretaker.

“The condition of those horses had dramatically changed in the last few months” stated Lt. Tummond. “From July until now, we had not received any additional calls and it was kind of surprising to find those horses in that bad of shape.”

OTTB Foundation officials are calling it the worst case they’ve seen.

“My first initial thought was, go get hay and feed and bring it to these horses,” shared OTTB Foundation rescuer Jacqueline Acksel. “Then I got here and I was devastated.”

Rescue officials said they suffered from fractured bones, eye infections, and digestion complications; two horses had to be euthanized.

“It’s so irresponsible for any owner to allow a horse to get to that point” shared Acksel. “It takes such a long time for this to happen. It could’ve been completely unavoidable. I had to hold him today to be euthanized and it just broke my heart.”

A veterinarian began treatment on the horses, gave them IV fluids, and conducted bloodwork.

“We’re looking at months and months, but these others in two or three months they should be feeling a ton better,” stated OTTB Foundation rescuer Darcy Scudero.

Rescue officials said they are accepting donations to help care for the horses. The animals are now in good hands and rescuers will search for safe homes.

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