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Animals rescued from 'backyard butcher' operation

April 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Animal Control officials call it some of worst abuse they've ever seen. Dozens of starved and abused animals have been taken from an unincorporated area of Canyon Country. The property owner has been arrested and may face serious charges.

Animal care experts say one horse is malnourished and several hundred pounds underweight. She is just one of several animals seized this week from someone's home where they were allegedly going to be slaughtered.

Along with the horse, officials found 14 goats, nine sheep, five cows and a calf.

Jay Weiner runs The Gentle Barn, an animal rescue operation in Santa Clarita. Weiner says it was a backyard butcher operation. The owner allegedly was killing animals for personal consumption and to be sold.

"It's been pretty harsh to watch," said. "I don't think that there's an understanding of the potential danger to themselves when they're going and buying meat from a guy who's slaughtering in his backyard."

They say the conditions were filthy and a number of animals were sick and injured. The animals are now being rehabilitated at the Gentle Barn.

While the animals heal, L.A. County Animal Services and the District Attorney's office are working on the criminal case against the suspect. He is now facing charges of felony animal cruelty.