Horse owner facing animal abuse charges

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A Summerville man is facing seven counts of animal abuse after Berkeley County Animal Control officials discovered malnourished, underweight horses with a number of health problems on his property last week.

Dwight Benjamin McCloud, of 1181 Old Dairy Road, is charged 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.

Two of the horses have already been turned over to LEARN, an organization which rescues and rehabilitates horses, after a volunteer, Elizabeth Steed, convinced McCloud it was the right thing to do.

Veternarian Howland Mansfield says she has seen many mistreated horses throughout her career, but nothing compared to what she saw last week 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] sever 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. 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.

"He walked around with me he didn't say a lot," she said. "Didn't get much info from him. I was too worried about the horses."

Veterinarians said that horse was "in dire need of medical care." The other rescued horse was described as "underweight, malnourished" and "starting to get rain rot on the rump region."

Two of the other horses left behind were in better shape, but both were described by veterinarians as "mildly underweight" and in need of hygienic care like "sheath cleaning" and "teeth floating."

The report also states living conditions were poor with dirty water troughs and soiled horse pens.

Furthermore, 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.

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