Seven horses found starving in Blount County are rescued and sent to UT Equine Hospital. The horses are on their way to recovery. Police say James Ford is responsible.
Starved probably his entire life, one young black horse was emaciated. His hip bones stuck out and so are his ribs. Horse Haven Executive Director Nina Margetson says, "He is one of the worst. We gave him a 1 on a scale of 1-10. It just breaks my heart because he'll probably never reach his full potential of a full grown horse."
The horses lived in a dirt lot, mostly mud after all the rain, and roaming around among metal pieces. They were left eating only tree leaves and wood from the fence. Neighbors and people driving by called in the abuse. Blount County's Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA took action. Gino Bachman with SPCA says, "I called and said we're taking your horses and he said you can't take my horses. He said only 2 are bad, so he knew they were bad."
Bachman tells us they'd been investigating ford for 5 years, but he moved around and hid the horses. Bachman says, "All these horses have battle scars for fighting over what little food there was as well as bumping into nail boards and downed trees."
They named the yearling Pugsley after the Adams family, his mother is Mortitia. She's almost as bad, skin and bones. Pugsley tried to nurse from Mortitia, but she had nothing to feed him. Now UT vets are nursing them back to health. Dr. Carla Sommardahl says, "It'll take months. It's a slow process because we have to feed them slowly."
If they feed them too quickly, they'll get refeeding syndrome which makes the horses very weak. They're hoping none of the horses have suffered internal damage, but they're doing blood work to find out.
To donate to Horse Haven send a check to:
PO Box 22841
Knoxville, TN 37933
They also need Strategy and Purina feed. Take it by 2417 Reagan Road from 10-2pm on Saturday.
They're also having adoption day on Saturday.