Animal Services Investigating Starving Horses

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

December 3, 2005
Some folks in Hephzibah are worried a neighbor isn’t feeding his horses. In fact, they say the horses have gone ten days without food. The Department of Animal Services is on the case examining the health of these horses. News 12 is on your side with more on what they’ve learned.

Grady Rice is an animal lover and he isn’t happy about the horses across the street.

“It’s been nine days that there’s been no hay whatsoever out there for ‘em,” Rice said.

It’s why he and several other neighbors have complained four times to Animal Services, saying the owner, Harry Osbourne, isn’t feeding them.

“Horses are eating bark off of trees, anything they can get to eat. They’ve eaten everything on the ground that was edible,” Rice said.

Officials visited the home on Willis Foreman Road and took pictures.

“It doesn’t look underfed, it’s legs are nice and full,” said Randy Teasley, Interim Director, Animal Services.

Interim Director Randy Teasley admits the horses look to be one hundred pounds underweight, but that is nowhere near life threatening.

“The animals haven’t gotten any worse. They haven’t gotten any better, but they haven’t gotten much worse. They’re not emaciated or anything, they’re just a little underweight,” Teasley said.

And the owner himself, who didn’t want to go on camera, says he takes good care of his pets, as much as his neighbors may not agree. His only mistake, says Teasley, is feeding the horses only once a day instead of twice.

“You gotta start somewhere, you know? I think they deserve a chance to correct the problem,” Rice said.

“We can’t go in and impound animals without probable cause and probable cause would be the life would be threatened,” Teasley said.

In the meantime, a veterinarian has one week to examine the horses and fax a report to Animal Services. Whatever happens, Rice says he’s satisfied that someone is taking the reins.

And officials admit winter is a tricky time for horse owners. It’s when the green grass turns brown and the animals need more nutrition. Horses should be eating oats, barley or other commercial-type feed twice a day. They should also have access to anytime they need it. If you have any questions, you can call Augusta Animal Services at 790-6836.


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