SPCA of Texas Receives Custody of Four Starving Horses from Van Zandt County Property

Two Other Horses Found Dead on the Property

(GRAND SALINE, TX; McKINNEY, TX); September 2, 2011 -- At a custody hearing today at the Van Zandt County Pct. 1 Courthouse in Grand Saline, TX, Judge Don Kirkpatrick awarded the SPCA of Texas custody of horses seized from a Van Zandt County Property.

Under the authority of the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department, the SPCA of Texas seized four starving horses on Tuesday, August 16 from a Van Zandt County property, just North of Canton, TX. The horses--two geldings, one yearling and one pony--were kept on an approximately 120-acre property without food or appropriate care. The remains of two deceased horses were also found on the property near a low-lying, tree-filled area.

 Although the horses did have access to a stock pond as a source of drinking water, no food was observed on the property. The geldings are extremely underweight. The yearling, who was first thought to be five of six months old, is small for its age due to malnutrition. The pony, though normal in weight, has a large growth on its side. 

To view photos of the horses, taken when they arrived at the SPCA of Texas’ Perry shelter in McKinney, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

One week before the seizure, the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department served an evidentiary warrant on another matter at the property when they noticed the horses' conditions. Over the next several days, the Investigator for the Sheriff's Department attempted to work out an agreement with the animal owner to bring the animals' conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code. The animal owner was to begin feeding and providing necessary care for the animals or to surrender them to the SPCA of Texas. The animal owner did not comply.  

The Investigator for the Sheriff's Department and the Investigator for the SPCA of Texas agreed that the horses were in danger of dying and needed immediate care. The property owner does not own the animals, but when they learned of the animal cruelty taking place on their property at the hands of the animal owner, the property owner granted the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department and the SPCA of Texas permission to access the property. The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department obtained a seizure warrant on Tuesday, August 16 and the animals were removed by the SPCA of Texas and taken to the SPCA of Texas Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Rd. in McKinney,TX, where they were cared for until the custody hearing.

"These horses were slowly starving to death in the extreme Texas summer heat due to lack of food and appropriate care," said Art Muñoz, Senior Investigator for the SPCA of Texas. "The horses are now receiving the food and care they so desperately needed."

If the animal owner does not file an appeal in the next ten days, the SPCA of Texas will at that time individually evaluate the horses for adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

To help support the SPCA of Texas and its efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, please visit www.spca.org/helptheanimals. To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, please visit our website at www.spca.org.

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