COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Cocke County Sheriff's Office charged Robert Hewitt with two counts of animal cruelty and two counts of neglect after rescuing two starving horses from a pasture on Glendale Road.
The horses were so underweight that their hip, shoulder bones and ribs showed through their skin.
Sheriff Armando Fontes said the pasture they were in was mostly dirt and mud with no food available. The only water on the property was a stagnant pond with mud, algae and bug larva. He said there was a shelter on the property, but it was closed off by rope and a metal gate, so the horses couldn't get to it.
"I don't understand. I don't know why people will allow an animal to get in such a state. We all, as owners of different types of animals, have a responsibility to take care of and meet their needs. Because they're very dependent upon their environment," said Fontes.
A veterinarian examined the horses and told deputies they were about 200 pounds underweight, with multiple fly bites and in need of hoof trimming.
An animal rescue in Cocke County is now nursing the horses back to health.