Some People Concerned About Care of Horses

WSIL News Director Mike Snuffer with background on the story

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By Mike Snuffer

A note from News Director Mike Snuffer:

WSIL -- This week the WSIL newsroom has received a flurry of comments regarding "abused horses" in Franklin County. We first learned of the allegations several days ago - and we did check it out - but there wasn't enough evidence to say the horses were mistreated.

Someone sent the station numerous pictures of the horses. The holding stalls and makeshift corral were muddy and the water trough frozen over. I will agree that the fence needs to be improved and perhaps the grounds need to be cleared of some debris.

I grew up around horses so I have some limited knowledge about equine management. So, I shared the pictures with a couple of other people who have many more years of experience raising horses. The feedback I received was that the horses appeared to be in good shape. The horses were full in hindquarters, and there were no visible sores. You could see a few of the ribs on one horse, but I'm told that could be related to muscle tension.

It was noted by some viewers that the horses were chewing the bark off of trees. Experts say that behavior is normal even in healthy horses. It can be a sign that there is a shortage of roughage or a sign that the horses are bored.

On Monday, January 14, 2013, an inspector with the Illinois Department of Agriculture examined the animals. His conclusion - no signs of mistreatment or starvation.

Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesperson Jeff Squibb told News 3 that all of the 23 horses were found to be well-fed and taken care of. Squibb said the investigator would continue to check on the horses periodically throughout the winter.

On Friday, News 3 spoke to Delores Adams, the owner of the horses.

"I don't have a fancy barn, but the horses are cared for, brushed, they're
loved, and they're fed," Adams said. "They eat about $1000 a month so they eat better than I do."

This past week has been educational and I have learned much more about horses. That is why it is so important to educate ourselves and ask for an outside opinion before we assume there is a problem.
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