Six starving horses recovering; authorities search for responsible party

Lawton_Stephens County Deputies found some severely malnourished horses on property just off of Old Highway 7 in Stephens County.  Stephens County Sheriff, veterinarians and the Stephens County Humane Society found two dead horses and six others that appeared to be neglected and severely emaciated.  It appears that whoever once lived on the property abandoned the animals and left them to fend for themselves.

Although it was too late for two of the horses - the six that survived the ordeal are being nursed back to health, two of them at the home of a veterinarian.  Connie McLemore has been a vet for 24 years and says this is the worst case of horse neglect she's ever seen.  "I believe these animals would all have been dead, if we had a wet and cold winter, because with no nutrition they wouldn't have had the energy to survive," she says.

There was absolutely no grass, no hay, and no feed in the area where the horses were found.  McLemore says two of the horses were found locked in a barn, forced to eat their own feces out of hunger.  "They had literally eaten everything and there was nothing left for them to eat," she says.  The horses were so malnourished all of their ribs were visible, they had muscle loss and spine problems and their manes and coats were matted with tree droppings.

McLemore says everyone's first instinct is to start feeding the animals, but they have been starved for about three months, so they really have to be careful about how much they give them.  It will be a slow process to get the horses back into good health.  Stephens County Sheriff Jimmie Bruner plans to file charges against the owner for animal cruelty and they are actively searching for the man responsible. "These animals were depending on him and it's just not right for anyone to let them die like that," says McLemore.  "It's all his fault and he needs to be prosecuted to the hilt."

The Stephens County Humane Society doesn't usually handle horses, so they could use some help.  If you have extra hay or horse feed, please contact them at 580-252-7387.  If you would like to drop of a donation, they're located at 714 West Martin Luther King Avenue in Duncan.  If you know anything about the owner of the horses call the Stephens County Sheriff's Department at 580-255-3131.