Animal Control continues investigation into undernourished horses

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Berkeley County Animal Control Department say they are continuing to investigate alleged undernourished and injured horses that were brought to the attention of a horse rescue organization.

Two under nourished horses were turned over to LEARN after organization member Elizabeth Steed convinced the owner of the horses to give them up to her.

On Monday, Animal Control officials said they are in the process of investigating the complaint and continue to monitor the situation closely.

The Berkeley County Animal Control Department released the following statement:

"Animal Control did respond to a complaint and the investigation is ongoing. We are unable to comment until the investigation is complete, at which time, it will be determined if charges will be filed. Berkeley County worked with LEARN, a horse rescue organization, to provide removal services and care. We are closely monitoring the health and welfare of the other two horses on the property as we continue our investigation."

"I've never seen anything like it before," said Steed, who has been rehabilitating horses for years with her organization. "These horses are at least 250 pounds underweight. One of them has burns over 60 percent of his back."

The burns happened after the owner allegedly poured kerosene on the 3-year-old horse. Steed said its an "old-fashioned" way to treat a certain condition, but the kerosene is supposed to be diluted.

"The kerosene has eaten away at his skin. Now flies have laid eggs on him and we're now dealing with a maggot infestation," said Steed.

Steed says a complaint was made to Berkeley County Animal Control last week and an agent visited the owner on Old Dairy Road in Summerville on Thursday. Animal Control did not seize the horses or charge the owner.

"I really don't know why they didn't charge him," Steed said. "He told me he's only been feeding them every three or four days. He has two other horses on his property that are also underweight."

It will cost around $150 a day to treat the horse with the burns. The horse is hooked up to an I.V. and his wounds are treated once a day.

Veterinarians are optimistic, but say he is still in critical condition. Once the horses are nursed back to health, Steed says they will be adopted to other owners.

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