Owner sentenced in case of 47 malnourished horses in Colleton Co.

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The owner of 47 malnourished horses that were seized from a bible camp in Cottageville in 2009 was sentenced to 90 days in jail Friday.

Gift Horse Bible Camp Director Edward Ackerman pleaded guilty to 39 counts of ill treatment of animals. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $115,000 in restituion.

The horses were seized in May 2009 after Colleton County authorities received complaints they were being neglected and abused. Investigators say the horses weren't fed properly or given clean water. Some of the horses were hundreds of pounds underweight.

In 2009, Ackerman insisted that he was not starving the horses.

"No sir, no sir. We feed them every day," he said. "They've been fed every day since they've been here."

After getting complaints that the horses looked too thin, authorities got a judge to sign an order allowing them to take the horses.

"I know they look like they've been starved to death, but they haven't been," Ackerman said. "And I have the records of oats that's fed to them to prove that, you know."

Ackerman said he tried to give the horses hay, oats and vitamins, but they still wouldn't eat.

"If you can see a horse with an 800 pound bale of hay in this field and and he's that thin and he can't go over there and eat, then something's wrong," Ackerman said.

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