More Than 50 Horses Seized from Louisiana Breeding Farm

More than 50 allegedly maltreated Thoroughbred horses are receiving rehabilitative care after being removed from a Sabine Parish, La., breeding farm earlier this month.

Larry Kelly, president of the Sabine Parish Humane Society, said that animal welfare and law enforcement personnel began investigating conditions at the Hill Crest Farms, located near Many, after receiving several complaints about the condition of the animals residing there. Investigators subsequently discovered 59 allegedly maltreated horses residing on the property, Kelly said. Remains of approximately 25 dead horses were also discovered at the farm, he said.

On Jan. 6, acting on a warrant, volunteers from the Sabine Parish Humane Society, the Louisiana Horse Rescue, and the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine began removing surviving animals from the site, Kelly said.

Following the removal, the animals were placed with the Louisiana Horse Rescue for rehabilitative care. Louisiana Horse Rescue volunteer Sunny Francois said the majority of the removed animals had been used in farm owner Charles Ford's Thoroughbred breeding operation. Some were retired racehorses, and all the seized animals were allegedly in poor condition, Francois said.

"The average body condition of the horses is 1.5 (out of 9 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale)," Francois said. "They also have other medical conditions including respiratory issues."

Ford was unavailable for comment.

Kelly said Ford was charged with animal cruelty in connection with the seizure. The exact number of charges is yet to be determined, Kelly said.

"But we can say he will be charged with one court for every horse," Kelly said.

In convicted, Ford could face maximum charges of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines for each count, Kelly said.

The investigation is ongoing, Kelly said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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