Three starving horses are seized in Tuscaloosa County and a tip into animal control led to the horses' rescue.
The investigator on the case says they are 300 to 400 pounds underweight and if they had continued at the home they were at in the same condition they may not have lasted in the next year.
Unfortunately, the rescue group who took the horses in has seen their fare share of hurting animals this year. Brenda Westphal and her husband run Circle 8 Ranch Horse Rescue in Fosters. Their goal now is to get these malnourished horses back to a healthy state.
"They are pretty bad. They're emaciated…all their body weight - it's going to have to come back - it can't come back quickly. It has to come back slowly. Between six months to a year," Westphal said.
A tip was called into Tuscaloosa County Animal Control Wednesday. Investigator Terry Vaughn says after a trip to a Northport home Thursday the animals were seized. The owner voluntarily gave them up.
"He gave them up to try to help his case and that will help. We're going to try to help everyone we can if they'll work with us and we want to work with them because the main concern is the animals," Vaughn said.
Vaughn says the owner was trying to continue care for the horses but just couldn't keep up. He could face animal cruelty and neglect charges.
"He's done all he can to take care of them and in the past he has kept up and we just don't know the circumstances of why they got like this but we just had to take action," Vaughn said.
These horses, each believed to be more than 20 years old, will now undergo a vet check. From there they'll begin a program that includes a balanced diet and exercise to build back muscle. Westphal says it will be a long road for these guys but she hasn't lost hope in what they're capable of.
"These could be horses in the future that could be giving children rides so we'll see," Westphal said.
One of the main concerns right now is the horses' teeth, which Westphal says are in bad shape. Another concern is making sure Circle 8 Ranch Horse Rescue can continue to care for three additional charges. If you would like to help the group call Westphal at 205-391-3019.
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