VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX – The SPCA seized 87 animals after more than 50 horses were found dead on a property near Canton.
According to the SPCA, 70 horses, nine donkeys, six pigs and a longhorn were seized from a location described as a “sanctuary” for animals. More than half of the animals were roaming on a large, fenced pasture on the property with no access to food and little to no access to water. Some of the horses were so desperate for nourishment that “they were eating the bark off of the trees, leaving some trees completely bare of bark.”
The deceased horses were found in “various states of decomposition” and one was taken for a necropsy to find the cause of death.
The animals had health issues including open sores, nasal discharge, overgrown or cracked hooves, malnourishment, diarrhea, hair loss and fly bites.
The SPCA visited the property owners in March after receiving complaints about animal cruelty. They began working with the owners to educate them on how to properly feed and care for the animals. They were unaware of the deceased horses at that time.
After receiving more complaints and following up on the animals’ conditions later in the month, the SPCA decided to remove the animals and collect evidence when they obtained and served a seizure warrant.