Two horses were rescued and a third had to be euthanized recently after they were found living in substandard conditions on a farm in Washington County, Maryland, officials said this week.
The Humane Society of Washington County is investigating the horses’ owner who is suspected of failing to provide proper nutrition and dental care as well as severely neglecting the animals’ hooves, according to WHAG News.
Footage taken at the farm (shown below) shows one of the horses walking around on untrimmed hooves that have grown to be nearly 3 feet long and curled in on themselves.
“In our 26 year history, we have never seen anything to which these horses were suffering,” DeEtte Gorrie, of Days End Farm Horse Rescue, told WHAG.
The horses were discovered Friday by the Human Society during a welfare check on pet pigeons being kept on the farm, the Carroll County Times reports.
The name of the farm has not been released.
Kim Intino, president of the Humane Society of Washington County, said that it is standard practice to check on all animals at a facility when called in for a welfare check. Once the horses were discovered, the Humane Society called in Days End to help transport the animals away from the farm.
“The horses were found in a stall piled high with 3 to 4 feet of manure, where it is suspected that they were locked up for at least 15 years without necessary farrier or medical care,” Caroline Robertson, the development director at Days End, told the Times. Farrier is a person who trims and shoes horses' hooves.
The two surviving stallions will begin rehabilitation this week. The third, a miniature mare, was put down at the farm where she was found because of ruptured ligaments and irreparable fetlock dislocation which causes leg deformities.
Because they lived with the overgrown hooves for so long, the two remaining stallions have a long road ahead of them, Gorrie told WHAG.
“Their prognosis is guarded,” she said. “There could be internal damage to the structure of their foot that we can not correct.”
She added that the internal damage affected their tendons, bone structure, muscles, legs, and joints in their backs -- "just their overall well being."
The investigation into the owner of the farm is ongoing.