LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. — Seven neglected and malnourished horses are in the custody of the Lawrence County Animal Welfare League and are improving, officials said.
“They were in very bad shape, and we’re really worried about one in particular, but I believe they’re going to make it now,” said Jessica Yokley, director of the county’s animal welfare league.
Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call and discovered four dead horses at the property on Legg Lane in Loretto.
Sheriff Capt. Adam Brewer said other horses on the property were starving.
He said the deputy who went to the property reported there was water available but no barn or other type of shelter.
Brewer said no arrests have been made while the case remains under investigation. He said he spoke with the caregiver of the animals.
“They were being taken care of by a teenage girl and her older brother,” Brewer said. “And I think they just got overwhelmed. I don’t think they were intentionally abusing them.”
Officials said horses were given to the girl after the horses’ former owner died.
“They just had too many horses to take care of, and they suffered,” Yokley said.
She said the horses were in two pastures, which were about an acre each.
“Horses need about two acres each, so there was just no way they could take care of that many horses in that space,” Yokley said.
She said the pastures were basically nothing but dirt.
“There was virtually no grass and there was no signs of any hay for them to eat on,” Yokley said.
Jonathan Pitts, of Shoal Creek Animal Clinic, examined the animals after they were taken into custody, Yokley said.
“Three of the horses are in worse condition than the others,” she said. “And it may take a year before we get them back to where they need to be. A couple of those horses maybe weigh 500 pounds; they should weigh 1,200 pounds.”
She said one horse lost all muscle strength and has fallen three times.
“We’ve been able to get her up, but she is so weak, and with it about to get colder, I’m really worried about her,” Yokley said. “We’ve been trying to get heat lamps ready for her for (Monday night).”
One of the horses has a large tumor on its eye, but nothing can be done about it until the horse is healthier.
Yokley said the animals will stay with the county welfare league until they are healthy enough to be adopted.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.