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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Two horses seized, a third found dead on property

Two horses seized, a third found dead on property

Acting on a tip last Sunday, April 19th, Lafourche Parish Sheriff's deputies visited a pasture located at 698 Hwy. 307 and discovered the carcass of one horse and observed two horses in extremely poor shape, due to malnutrition and neglect.

The owner of the horses, Ryan Paul Martin, was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges. Bond was set at $3,000.

The sheriff's department asked members of the Lafourche Chapter of the Humane Society of Louisiana to take custody of and provide care for the two remaining horses, a Paint black and a Leopard appaloosa.

Both horses where seen by a local equine veterinarian who rated them a "2" out of 9 points on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart. A score of "5" is considered an ideal body condition score. A score of "2" represents a very emaciated condition. The ribs and hip bones of the confiscated horses are clearly visible, often a sign of malnutrition.

Unfortunately, due to the severe long-term neglect, the horses overall prognosis for a full recovery remains in doubt, according to Pamela George, President of the Lafourche Chapter and present custodian of the horses.

"Unfortunately, these horses have gone so long without proper care and feed, it is often very difficult to bring a horse back. There is only a 50-50% chance these two horses will make it, because of the chronic malnutrition they suffered. They have virtually no body fat and it takes time to regain their weight and strength and sometimes they succumb to complications associated with the failure of their internal organs due to their weakened condition. They are both about 250 pounds underweight, and we have to monitor their feed in-take, so they don't colic. We have to gradually increase their feed over time, so their body can properly absorb it.

“They also have serious hoof problems. Since their hooves were never trimmed, the horses were actually walking on their bent-over hooves. The hooves were so long, they actually grew out and curved back under the soles of the horses' hooves. It must have been very painful for them to walk," adds Pamela, who has been around horses most of her adult life and has been president of the local chapter for the past four years.

The group expects the horses' recovery to take several months and they are seeking donations from the public to help pay for their expected medical and feed costs. To make a contribution, please send a check or money order to Humane Society of Louisiana, Lafourche Chapter, P.O. Box 613, Cut Off, LA 70345. All donations are tax deductible.

Donations of all types of pet supplies, including cat and dog food, can be left in the donation boxes set up in the lobbies of all Lafourche Parish Library branches, during normal business hours.

"We are grateful that Pam and her hard-working volunteers were able to respond to the sheriff's request for assistance and are able to provide care for these horses. Few people realize that horses need daily care and leaving them to fend for themselves on a barren pasture will often times lead to serious life-threatening problems for the animals. Unfortunately, our office gets these types of complaints and tips on a regular, routine basis from around the state," says Jeff Dorson, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

The Humane Society of Louisiana is one of the state's largest animal advocacy organizations. For more information, visit their website at or call 1-888-6-humane.