DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Twenty allegedly cruelly treated animals were seized by The SPCA of Texas, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Dallas Police Department yesterday from an equine boarding facility in Dallas County.

The animals seized include 14 horses and 6 miniature horses. One dead horse was also found on the property, but it was too decomposed to remove. The live animals were transported to an offsite holding facility and two horses were taken to an equine veterinarian immediately. One of these two horses was later euthanized due to the severity of its condition.

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Medical staff will care for the animals and evaluate them before a custody hearing takes place.

Most of the horses were found living in various pens with no access to food, water or shelter. The miniature horses were found in a small round pen with no access to food or water. Two horses were confined to small, makeshift stalls with no access to food or water. One horse was found tied to a tree and one deceased horse was found, both in a wooded area on the property not visible during the investigation. These two horses were not discovered until a warrant was able to be obtained.

The animals appear are suffering from various health issues, including open wounds, hair loss and cracked hooves, and the majority appear to be significantly underweight. One horse was so weak it was unable to stand and was given emergency subcutaneous fluids at the scene. Another horse has several open wounds that are so infected that the tissue had begun decaying.

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The SPCA of Texas received a complaint of suspected animal cruelty on April 9, 2018 and visited the property on April 10, 2018. During that visit, the organization began identifying and attempting to work with the owners of the various horses, trying to educate them on the proper feeding and care of horses and entering into agreements with them if possible to bring the animals’ conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code. Due to the nature of the equine boarding facility’s business practices, it was a time-consuming and difficult process to even determine individual ownership of the horses.

Investigators visited the property six more times to work with owners if they were able to be identified and monitor the animals’ conditions. After seven visits to the property, the investigators were still unable to identify all of the owners due to lack of information from the property owner. At that point, on June 27, 2018, the decline in the animals’ conditions was significant, and that gave investigators probable cause to seek a warrant for the entire property to be able to remove the horses. At this time, the SPCA began gathering resources to remove the animals. Their investigator sought and obtained a seizure warrant on June 28, 2018 and executed the warrant the same day.

The custody hearing will be held on July 3, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Dallas County Government Center Precinct 1, Place 2 at 107 Texas Street in Lancaster.

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