In the hills of El Sobrante, animal lovers noticed several horses that lived on a privately owned, gated piece of land were slowly wasting away. Their ribs were showing, their hair was patchy and they were voraciously eating grass.
The horses were reported by at least two separate people three weeks ago to Contra Costa County Animal Control. Neither heard back about their inquiries.
This week, KTVU reporter Rita Williams called an animal control officer who hung up on her.
Melina Gaumer, horsewoman and local animal lover, took Williams to see the horses:
“This is absolute abuse right here. This is neglect. It looks like walking death.”
Guamer eventually resorted to calling a shelter in Oroville, which initially agreed to help the horses. When director Tawnee Preisner of the Horse Plus Humane Society saw the horses, she concluded that they were dying.
“They’re in a critical state. They are starving. They probably have a huge parasite load.”
Finally, a call from a county supervisor to the Animal Control director got the horses some much-needed attention.
Officers and veterinarians entered the enclosure late Wednesday and seized three animals. They are going back today for another horse, and the county is considering animal neglect charges against the owner.