Sixteen horses, six goats and several cats and dogs were rescued Wednesday in the investigation of a suspected neglect case in Ashland led by the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society of Ashland County, Days End Farm Horse Rescue and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary assisted in the rescue operation, the U.S. Humane Society reported.
Ashland County authorities served a search and seizure warrant about 9 a.m.
Horses were found living in filthy conditions — several feet of manure was found in some stalls, leaving the horses and goats with no choice but to stand with their hooves sinking into the accumulated waste, the Humane Society reported in a prepared statement.
Veterinarians observed that the horses and goats desperately needed care for their overgrown and damaged hooves, which can cause lameness and can become life-threatening if untreated.
A mare with an apparently ruptured eye paced in her pen, as a thin mare in the neighboring enclosure was found down in the filth on her side. She appeared weak and struggled to walk when she was led from her enclosure. A goat with severely overgrown hooves and a horn curling into his head bleated repeated and attempted to climb the sides of his stall.
Several responders were needed to pry open the door of the stall to remove him from the barn because of the accumulated waste.
“It’s like walking into an abandoned, forgotten barn, but there are beautiful living beings trapped here. Looking at the accumulation of waste, you can only imagine how long these animals have been suffering in these conditions,” said Mark Finneran, Ohio director for the Humane Society of the United States.
“We are grateful to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office and everyone involved in intervening so these animals never have to live this way again,” he said.
Sheriff Wayne Risner said, “We deeply appreciate the Humane Society of the United States for assisting us with the rescue and treatment of these animals that they need and deserve. We take great pride in taking care of the animals in our community and the assistance of the HSUS allowed us to intervene without causing a burden on our community’s resources.”
The rescued animals are being taken to a safe location where they will receive desperately needed care and veterinary attention, the Humane Society said.
Ashland County is 82 miles northeast of Columbus.