Working in cooperation with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, a team from the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch rescued 15 horses endangered on a property near Hurdland, Missouri. The team consists of the Humane Society’s five statewide investigators; the ranch director and horse trainer at the Society’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and an independent veterinarian. The Knox County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant that was served to remove the animals Thursday morning, November 8, 2007.

Since April of this year, officials of the Humane Society and Knox County Sheriff Department have been monitoring the animals on this property. Two written correction notices with recommendations on appropriate care of the horses have been issued to the owner. However, conditions of the animals have continued to deteriorate. The animals had no consistent access to adequate food, water or appropriate shelter. There was no available vegetation for forage on the less than two acres on which the horses were contained. Included on the property was an abandoned house and an old barn.

Among the 15 horses was a stallion; several mares, some of which may be pregnant; and several foals which appeared to be in poor condition. A mare with foal at her side also was in poor condition and had an old injury resulting in a non-weight-bearing limb with an excessively overgrown hoof. Inadequate fencing on the property contributed to the strangulation of a young foal last week. The foal, which had a rope with a clasp around its neck, escaped through the fence. As the foal tried to get back to its mother, the rope became entangled in the loose fencing. As it struggled, the rope became tighter resulting in the strangulation.

The horses were taken to the Humane Society’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch where they received expert veterinary medical care and attention from Longmeadow staff. The animals will remain in the care of the Humane Society of Missouri until the disposition hearing in Knox County on December 4.

“We are very pleased with the cooperation we have received from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department in the course of this investigation,” said Carmen Skelly, statewide investigator for the Humane Society of Missouri. Skelly further cautions, “As winter approaches, it is most important that owners provide now for the appropriate care of their animals. To survive winter conditions, horses and other farm animals need adequate food and access to fresh water and appropriate shelter.”