LANCASTER — More than a dozen horses were rescued Wednesday from a farm in Garrard County.
Earlene Harris, director of Garrard County Animal Control, said she was alerted to the situation Tuesday night.
First thing Wednesday morning, Harris and officials with animal control arrived at the farm to find extremely malnourished horses.
Two of the horses had been euthanized by Buckland Equine Rescue personnel, who also were made aware of the situation.
President of the rescue, Christopher Takacs, said the two fillies his agency euthanized were unable to stand.
Takacs said there were about 15 horses total and 13 survivors. He said the sick horses were wandering all over the property, some near the house and others in the driveway.
“Working with animal control, we were able to remove the remainder of the herd, with the exception of the few they are rounding up this morning,” he said.
The surviving horses are being kept at Buckland South in Garrard County and are in critical condition. Takacs said there a couple of horses “a day away from death from starvation.”
Both Takacs and Harris said the owner claims he was too ill to care for the horses.
“We’re not sure that the owner is guilty at the moment of anything other than falling on hard times,” Harris said. “This is an active investigation.”
There was a fresh haybale at the farm, but Takacs believed the owner brought it in last minute.
“I think he knew he was in trouble,” said Takacs, adding he is familiar with this sort of excuse in his line of work.
People become “indifferent” to seeing their animals struggle, he said, and don’t ask for help when they get into trouble.
In this case, Takacs said it is strange somebody could watch these animals starve and die.
“If you love the animals, how can you not ask for help?” he questioned.
Harris said she was told the owner, whose name was not released, reached out for help but did not receive any.
“I’m waiting to have the full story,” she said.
A few dominate horses are fairly healthy, having fought off other horses for nourishment, Takacs said.
In addition, he said there are several pregnant mares, and the rescue is in need of donations to keep them healthy.
Donations to the rescue can be made directly through PayPal at bucklandequinerescue.com or by mailing a check directly to the address provided on Buckland’s Facebook page.