BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Musician Willie Nelson has agreed to take in two horses from the Berkeley County Animal Control Department after officials seized the horses from a man accused of neglecting the animals, according to the musician's website.
Nelson's website states that the stallion, Whisper, and mare, Traveler, will be moved to Nelson's ranch in Texas once the two animals' are better.
Dwight Benjamin McCloud was charged earlier this month with three counts of failure to provide humane care and treatment, three counts of failure to provide veterinary care and treatment to animals and one count of failure to provide food and water.
Veterinarian Howland Mansfield says she has seen many mistreated horses throughout her career, but nothing compared to what she saw at McCloud's residence on Old Dairy Road.
"It was very severe," Mansfield said. "I told him he needed medical care. Even with it I said I wasn't sure if he was going to make it. He was really bad off. He needs to be fed and cared for immediately."
A veterinary report provided to Animal Control describes one of the aforementioned horses as "extremely malnourished [with] severe rain rot." The report also states the horse "[had] a very large area on the left flank where the skin is missing and maggots are present."
That skin is missing because McCloud allegedly poured kerosene on the 3-year-old horse. Volunteer Elizabeth Steed said it is actually an "old-fashioned" way to treat a certain condition, but the kerosene is supposed to be diluted.
According to Berkeley County Animal Control, these two horses haven't seen a veterinarian in three years. Mansfield was the first to inspect the horses and talk to the owner.
McCloud told veterinarians the horses had not received vaccinations and that they were fed once every two days. McCloud also claimed to de-worming the horses every three months but veterinarians said they appeared to need more extensive de-worming.
McCloud is scheduled to appear in court on April 5.
Both horses have been in the care of Lowcountry nonprofit LEARN, Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network.
Nelson's website says that the musician is using "Whisper and Traveler's story to advocate for humane treatment of equines, something he has championed for years."