The Humane Society of the United States is assisting the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of 16 horses, six goats and several cats and dogs from an alleged neglect situation in Ashland, Ohio. The Humane Society of Ashland County, Days End Farm Horse Rescue and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary also assisted in the rescue operation. 

Local authorities served a search and seizure warrant around 9 a.m. on Nov. 16. Horses were found living in filthy conditions—some stalls were full of several feet of manure, leaving the horses and goats with no choice but to stand on top of the waste with their hooves sinking into the accumulated waste. Veterinarians observed that the horses and goats desperately needed care for their overgrown and damaged hooves, which can cause lameness and can become life-threatening if untreated.

A mare with an apparently ruptured eye paced in her pen, as a thin mare in the neighboring enclosure was found down in the filth on her side. She appeared weak and struggled to walk when she was led from her enclosure. A goat with severely overgrown hooves and a horn curling into his head bleated repeated and attempted to climb the sides of his stall. Due to the waste accumulation, it took several responders to pry open the door of the stall to remove him from the barn.

“It’s like walking into an abandoned, forgotten barn, but there are beautiful living beings trapped here. Looking at the accumulation of waste, you can only imagine how long these animals have been suffering in these conditions,” said Mark Finneran, Ohio director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office and everyone involved in intervening so these animals never have to live this way again.”

“We deeply appreciate the Humane Society of the United States for assisting us with the rescue and treatment of these animals that they need and deserve. We take great pride in taking care of the animals in our community and the assistance of the HSUS allowed us to intervene without causing a burden on our community’s resources,” said Sheriff Wayne Risner.

The rescued animals are being transported to a safe location where they will receive desperately needed care and veterinary attention.

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