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Pestilence, filth and misery was the sight that met Linda Koch of the Clay County Horse Rescue when responding to several complaints about horses that were not being treated humanely. The property in question is owned by David and Roxie Lofton. It is out in the county near Montpelier,.
â€śI went out there to the property everyone was complaining about Wednesday, June 19. I had been told there were several horses that looked malnourished and people wanted the horse rescue to check on them,â€ť said Koch. â€śWhen I got out there it was much worse than I thought, horses appeared to be skin and bones, one had an obviously broken leg, there were dogs and puppies everywhere and the stench was terrible.â€ť
After taking photographs to document the conditions the animals were living in, Koch, together with the Clay County Sheriff's Dept., the Columbus Lowndes Humane Society, the Starkville Humane Society, Shaw Pit Bull Rescue in New Hope and the Aberdeen Humane Society were at the scene to collect the 27 dogs, all but four were Pit Bull Terriers, and five horses. The West Point Clay County Animal Shelter was at capacity but took a few of the dogs that they could make room for.
This is the largest case of Animal Hoarding to date in Clay County.
Some of the dogs were staked out all over the property, others were housed in small, inadequate kennels, all were covered in fleas, ticks, flies, and some dogs showed obvious signs of mange and ringworm.
The horses were starved, dehydrated, covered in gnats, flies, fleas and others pests burrowing under their skin. The horses were being literally eaten alive by parasites. One pony had a broken leg and is now scheduled to be euthanized.
Empty water pans littered the area where the animals were kept. There were several puppies who were not yet in bad condition.
â€śThe Sheriff's Dept. is always concerned with abused and neglected animals. When confronted with animal abuse we want to put an end to it and find the animals good homes where they'll be treated well,â€ť said Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott. â€śWe don't want to see this sort of thing in Clay County again and will do everything we can to put a stop to it.â€ť
All the animals have been removed from the Lofton's property and are in neighboring animal shelters. Shaw Pit Bull Rescue took 17 of the dogs, the Columbus Lowdnes Humane Society took four, Starkville Humane Society took four and the Aberdeen Humane Society took two dogs. The Clay County Horse Rescue took all five horses. To get the animals back into healthy condition to allow them to be adopted will cost $200 per horse and $150 per dog. This covers only medical costs, not food or shelter. All shelters and rescues would be appreciative of any donations with this sudden influx of animals. ASPCA grants can be applied for but when the grants might be approved and how much they may be is impossible to predict.
This was an enormous undertaking on behalf to all the rescues and shelter who through cooperation made a huge contribution to the safety and health of these animals.