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Riverside County seizes malnourished horses

September 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Riverside County Animal Control is asking the district attorney to file misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against a Murrieta ranch owner. More than a dozen horses were taken away from her Thursday.

For the past year, folks at Riverside County Department of Animal Services say they've received a number of complaints about malnourished horses on a ranch in Murrieta. Animal Control officers say the horses are not getting enough food.

Riverside County says the owner is not properly caring for the animals. So Thursday Animal Control rolled in and seized all 16 horses on the property.

Neighbor Sandy Bike says after looking at the horses, she believes the county is doing the right thing.

"I definitely believe the government needs to take them. If they're this bad, I wish somebody would have come in sooner and done this," said Bike.

But not everyone agrees with what's happening here.

Norm Lindsay says the ranch owner is doing what she can to nourish the horses back to health, but that she just hasn't been given enough time.

"It's an overreaction," said Lindsay. "This is not a horse rescue, this is a horse rip-off. There was no need for a warrant to come out here with an army."

The horses will be in the temporary care of Animal Services, and depending on what happens with the case, they'll later be sent out to a rescue group.

"She has an opportunity to appeal the seizure today, and based upon that appeal -- which I'm sure she will -- it goes from there," said Sgt. Lesley Huennekens, Riverside County Animal Services. "It could go from cruelty charges to the horses eventually, hopefully, getting into better homes."

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