29 starving horses rescued

February 16, 2013

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Officials rescued 29 malnourished horses from a ranch in southeastern Hood County, and some of them may have to be put down because of their poor condition, according to Captain A.T. Vines of the Hood County Sheriff’s Office.

The horses were picked up Monday in a combined effort of Hood County Animal Control, the Hood County Animal Emergency Issues Committee (HCAEIC) and the North Texas Humane Society (Fort Worth).

The owner of the horses had been warned by Animal Control about the condition of some of his horses about a year ago, Vines said. He fully cooperated, surrendered the at-risk animals and assisted in the rescue. No charges will be filed, the captain said, and the horse owner’s identity was not revealed.

“An agreement was worked out with the owner to release the horses to HCAC (Hood County Animal Control),” Vines said. “HCAC then contacted the North Texas Humane Society and the Hood County Animal Emergency Issues Committee.

“The animals were assessed and separated into groups and then transported by Animal Control, Animal Emergency Issues and the North Texas Humane Society. This group of professionals and volunteers came together to accomplish a mission that was important not only to them, but to the well-being of the horses.”

The owner had more than 40 other horses that were not malnourished, and they will remain on his land as long as they are cared for properly, Vines said.

“He was not financially able to support them,” Vines said, noting that deputies returned to the ranch after getting complaint calls from others in the area. “He admitted that, and asked for our help.

“He signed an agreement so officers can check on his horses. This is best for all concerned. Animal Control will continue to monitor the horses and stay in contact with the owner.”

Vines said that the health of each of the horses is being assessed by veterinarians, who will make the call.

“I couldn’t tell you how many (may be saved),” Vines said, adding that “some are not likely to recover.”

As of press time Thursday afternoon, Vines confirmed that only one of the horses had been put down. He said the expenses for the veterinarian services will be paid by the North Texas Humane Society.

“They’re all being seen by vets and will be looking at them in an attempt to save them,” Vines stated. “(The horses) went to different rescues around North Texas – in Tarrant County and others.”

Vines said gathering the horses was quite a chore, and new Animal Control Sergeant Kelly McNab hit the ground running as she coordinated the operation.

It was her first day as the on-site Animal Control manager. She replaced Charles Monroe, who took another job elsewhere, Vines said.

“Sergeant McNab did a great job of coordinating it,” Vines said, noting that Sheriff’s Office deputies and HCAEIC volunteers also assisted in the effort providing extra trailers and other equipment – not to mention manpower to handle the semi-wild horses, most of which are not halter-broken.

Vines noted that the HCAEIC is a volunteer group that is part of the County Emergency Plan and “has the primary function of assisting Animal Control in times of disaster or emergency when animals need to be relocated because of fire, floods or disease outbreak.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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