Multiple owners could face charges in Salem Township horse cruelty case
Multiple owners are responsible for the neglect of 15 to 20 horses at a Salem Township boarding facility, an animal cruelty investigator said today.
One horse was dead when investigators arrived, but it’s not clear if the animal died from old age or neglect, said Matt Schaecher, Humane Society of Huron Valley cruelty investigator.
The other animals, which were suffering from malnutrition and lack of shelter, are all expected to recover, Schaecher said. A report seeking charges against the owners was expected to be forwarded to prosecutors for review today or Friday.
If convicted of cruelty to animals, the owners could face punishment ranging from fines to imprisonment for up to a year or more. The penalties for cruelty to animals vary depending on how many animals are involved.
The Double Diamond boarding facility on Seven Mile Road near Curry Road provides space for boarding but no services, Schaecher said. “Ultimately, it’s the owner’s responsibility,” he said.
The Humane Society received a few calls from people concerned about the horses, Schaecher said. The first came on Tuesday, and the Humane Society began its investigation that day.
The agency is working to identify and contact owners, who have now begun to provide care. “When we first went there it was a ghost town,” Schaecher said. “Now there is a flurry of activity.”
The Humane Society did not take any of the animals from the boarding facility, but Schaecher said some of them lack shelter and if it is not provided, the animals will be removed.
Schaecher didn’t know why the owners were neglecting the animals, but he said the number of people abandoning animals has grown in the poor economy. Horses are especially vulnerable because their care is, in Schaecher’s word’s “not cheap.”
"We’re seeing more abandonment and neglect of animals of all kinds,” he said.