RAMONA, Calif. — Fifteen horses were rescued this week from a property in Ramona after an investigation showed the animals received inadequate food and care, according to County Animal Services officials.
Three horses that were between 150 and 300 pounds underweight were rescued from the property on May 29.
The owner then requested an administrative hearing, challenging whether Animal Services had grounds to remove the first three horses, and whether 12 additional horses should be removed because of inadequate care. A hearing officer upheld the action Thursday afternoon and Animal Services immediately rescued the remaining horses. All of the animals were taken to an animal care facility in Bonita, where they are now under veterinary care.
“The owner was not providing the necessary care to improve the health of her horses which left us no choice but to seize the animals and take them into protective custody,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson.
The owner has 14 days to reclaim her horses if she shows she can provide the necessary care and if she can pay the cost of their impoundment, housing and medical care. If that doesn’t happen, the animals will remain at the facility in Bonita until they are healthy enough to be adopted.
Officials say there have been additional complaints over the last seven years about the care of the rescued horses, but this is the first time animal control officers impounded the animals. Animal Services had been trying to work with the owner to provide adequate food and care for more than a month.
Animal Control officers are determining whether to submit the case to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution.