December 28, 1997 in Nation/World

Malnourished Horses ‘Just Skeletons,’ Agency Head Says

Compiled From Wire Services

A humane society has taken possession of 21 filthy, severely malnourished horses from an owner who could no longer afford to take care of them.

The animals had no food or water, and had gnawed away the wooden partitions of their stalls, said Donna Ewing, president of the Hooved Animal Humane Society, which impounded the animals Friday on behalf of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“They were just skeletons,” Ewing said. “They looked like living death.”

She said she was not sure if all the horses will survive.

Ewing’s agency had received an anonymous tip about the horses.

The horses’ elderly owner said she had fallen on hard times since her husband’s death, and did not object when officials impounded the horses, Ewing said.

“She was too proud to ask for help,” Ewing said.

No charges had been filed against the woman. A spokeswoman for the agriculture department did not return calls on whether any action would be taken.

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