APL seeking help to treat injured horses rescued from farm

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LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio -- Animal advocates say they’re not surprised that two men accused of animal cruelty pleaded not guilty.

“I was kind of expecting it,” said Friendship APL Humane Officer Denise Willis.

Mahmoud Abukhalil, 41, and Richard Newton, 49, were both arraigned in Elyria Municipal Court on Monday.

The men were arrested and charged with animal cruelty and obstructing official business after police made a gruesome discovery at a farm in Grafton Township of Lorain County.

“I've seen a lot of animal abuse, and this is one of the worst, one of the most horrific conditions of the property I have ever seen,” said Willis.

She said the stalls were filled with feces and in one of them, there was a sheep that had to be euthanized due to its poor health.

On another part of the property, she said they discovered a pile of animal carcasses.

A group of horses and chickens were rescued from the farm.

Willis said one horse seemed to be worse shape than the rest. His name is Big Red.

"Big Red`s condition is so bad, it`s going to take at least a year to really get this horse back into shape, to rebuild all the muscle mass, and to get the weight back on it,” said Executive Director Greg Willey of Friendship APL. “It`s such a slow and gradual process. Everyone thinks you can just feed them all at once and you can`t do that.”

And while the animals are slowly being nursed back to health, there’s still more work to do.

Willey said they need to find a farrier who can help repair the horses' hooves.

"Big Red’s hoof is completely collapsed and needs to be cut away to start rebuilding that hoof, because for right now it`s uncomfortable for him to put pressure on it. He almost waddles a bit when he walks because of the discomfort from that,” he said.

Two of the other horses have abscesses in their hooves that need to be fixed as well.

The Friendship APL is seeking donations to help with these animals.

To learn how you can help, click here.

For extended coverage of this story, click here.

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