Acting at the request of the Fulton County sheriff, the ASPCA says it has stepped in to provide care to 117 neglected horses on the farm of a horse dealer near Viola. Removal of the animals to other places has begun. Investigators say they found dead animals on the property and many with untreated fractures and infections.
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and American Humane Association, is assisting in the removal and sheltering management of 117 horses from a farm located a few miles east of Viola, Ark.
A search warrant was executed last Thursday for the removal of the horses, based on multiple reports of suspected animal neglect over a seven-month period. The farm is operated by a man who buys horses at auctions and re-sells the animals to the public.
Upon arriving at the scene, ASPCA and HSUS responders discovered several dead animals on the property, and many horses showed various degrees of neglect, including old fractures and infections that were left untreated.
Kyle Held, the Midwest director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said the ASPCA spent the last few days collecting evidence and medically evaluating the horses on the property. “It’s sad to see so many horses suffering from blatant neglect without food, water, and adequate medical care,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to quickly address the critical cases and we are happy to be moving the horses to the temporary shelter today.”
One hundred bales of Bermuda grass and a half ton of alfalfa cubes were sent to the farm to feed the starved horses. The animals are currently being cared for on the property, and responders are working to transport the animals to a temporary shelter today, where they will continue to receive veterinary treatment under the custody of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. The horses will be quarantined for at least 30 days and are not yet available for adoption.
"We’re thankful for the local sheriff’s cooperation in making this rescue operation as seamless as possible," said Desiree Bender, Arkansas state director of HSUS. “We are pleased to be able to lend our assistance and help these horses look toward a better future.”
The seizure of the horses is the result of a seven-month-long investigation that is still ongoing, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, which contacted the ASPCA and HSUS for assistance.