NOVELTY, Ohio - Humane Officials at the Geauga County Humane Society's Rescue Village are caring for five horses they say were found emaciated, with little food or shelter on an open pasture in Montville.
Humane Officer Christian Courtwright said the horses' bones are visible through their thin skin. They all have bite marks from competing with each other for what little they actually had to eat.
Many of the veterbrae on their spine are visible.
"They were eating the wooden fence posts on the property, and the run-in shed that they had. You could see there's like cookie cutters taken out of the wood where they were eating the wood. They were eating their own leavings because they just didn't have enough to survive," said Courtwright.
"There would have been deceased animals on the property without a doubt they would have started to die," added Courtwright, who says the older ones might have survived only a few more weeks had humane officials not intervened.
The Geauga County Humane Society took custody of the horses after investigating a tip call.
Courtwright says the horses were the property of a woman who recently moved out of the state and left them to be cared for by her adult daughter.
"They were being boarded at a temporary facility. They were out on an open pasture. Five horses in the pasture, a little run-in shed maybe big enough for two," said Courtwright.
He said they were covered by thin, nylon blankets which would have kept the rain away, but would do little to help keep the animals warm.
"Any driver would drive by and see horses with blankets on and think nothing of it, but underneath the blankets, they looked like this," said Courtwright pointing out their frail appearance.
Courtwright said Humane Society veterinarians have examined the animals and determined they were generally in good health other than being emaciated.
He says it will be a long while before they are gradually restored to complete health.
"Really it can wear you down because litterally you know its going to be months before these horses look like horses again. It's going to be months of feeding and medical care to where they are rehabbed enough to even be considered for adoption."
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