Horse care-taker claims carriage company owner neglects his animals

Published: Jun. 24, 2009 at 3:32 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2009 at 3:07 AM EDT
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By Ian Silver  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Five horses dead in less than two years.

That's what has prompted a care-taker to publicly claim the owner of a carriage company downtown is neglecting his animals.

Horse care-taker Nancy Lane says Samson the horse died earlier this month after years of service as a carriage horse downtown for the Carolina Polo and Carriage Company, owned by Richard Knoth.

She claims Samson was the fifth of Knoth's horses to die in her care in the past two years. She accuses Knoth of over-working and under-feeding the horses, and that three of the rive that died weren't seen by a vet because Knoth didn't want to pay for it.

After Samson died, Lane said she's had enough so she contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, to help bring the problem to light.

"When PETA receives reports that there are specific horses who are being denied much-needed veterinary and farrier care, we want to ensure their suffering is eliminated," PETA spokesperson Desiree Acholla said.

The City of Charleston is now investigating the claims of neglect by Knoth.

Tommy Doyle is the general manager of Palmetto Carriage Works, another carriage company downtown.

He says people need to be careful before they group all carriage companies with Knoth's.

"This is not an industry problem, this is a carriage company problem; one individual," Doyle said.

Lane says horses come to her all the time severely under weight, sick and injured with broken, un-repaired bones and damaged hooves. Now she says it's time for something to be done.

Doyle agrees. That's why he said he called on the city to investigate.

"This was an industry thing," Doyle said. "PETA didn't get involved with this until after the industry brought it to the city's attention."

"If the allegations prove to be true, I would hope the city would act swiftly and quickly."

We made several attempts to get in touch with Richard Knoth to hear his side of the story, but none of our calls were returned.

Despite Nancy Lane's claims of abuse and neglect, Knoth has continued to entrust her with the care of his horses.

In Charlesont, carriage companies are required to go through two inspections a year by their own veterinarians, and one additional one by a third-party veterinarian.

Horses don't recieve federal protection under the animal welfare act. They are only protected under local anti-cruelty statutes.

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