Investigation continues into malnourished horses surrendered in Portage County

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RAVENNA, OHIO – The Portage Animal Protective League continues to investigate the care of six horses leading up to the death of one of them in September.

Last month, half a dozen horses were surrendered to the Portage APL, some hundreds of pounds underweight. Shortly after being rescued, one horse died. Since then, the surviving animals continue to improve.

“I mean, it takes a while to notice 50 pounds on a horse that’s 400 pounds underweight, but she looks good. Her face looks happy, she looks so much better,” said Chalan Lowry, Executive Director of the Portage APL about one of the rescued horses.

Lowry said due to the ongoing investigation, details about the case could not be shared. However, they are working to determine if charges including neglect and cruelty to animals could be filed.

Due to the scope of the investigation, she said that could take some time.

“This case is such a big one, so many working pieces and parts to look at,” said Lowry.

Since FOX 8’s initial report on the case, Lowry said they have received more tips and information about the care of the horses prior to the APL’s involvement. Lowry said they are collecting witness statements and the investigation is going well.

“We’re not saying we’re not filing charges either. We’re collecting as much evidence as we can, we’re working with a local prosecutor,” said Lowry.

In the past several months the Portage APL reports an increase in animals being abandoned. Lowry encouraged owners to ask for help before it’s too late.

“Cases like this give us the opportunity to say, ‘hey, if you need help, ask. Don’t wait until it’s so bad that your animal is going to pass away because of neglect ask for help,'” said Lowry.

Although some of the horses are improving, at least one will have permanent injuries.

“Especially the Arabian that had the badly injured back leg,” she said. “Unfortunately, that horse is not going to be rideable. The damage to his ankle is permanent, but he’s in good spirits.”

Some of the horses recovering at a Mogadore rescue could be available for adoption soon.

“Depending on their health, how their organs bounce back from being starved and what veterinarians say is sort of what we will follow,” said Lowry.

She clarified Goddard’s Law does not apply in this case due to the horses being considered farm animals.

The Portage APL is hosting a fundraiser this weekend to help raise money for all the animals in its care. Learn more here.

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