CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Eight animals slept safely Tuesday night after Clermont County authorities rescued them and recovered the remains of at least 10 other horses. The bones were scattered throughout the property at 2200 Donald Road in Bethel.
Animal advocates tell us they're relieved some of the animals could be saved, but now they worry about what's next for them and why the rescue took so long in the first place.
Clermont County Sheriffs deputies said Chad Moore, 39, is to blame. Authorities said his parents own the property. Police believe Moore may have left the area to avoid legal problems including warrants for outstanding child support and a D.U.I.
Horse rescuers like Shelly Price of Speak Up for Horses are furious.
"If he had to leave he should have made arrangements for his animals before he left," Price said. "Or he could have called any horse rescue. There are a lot of different places he could have called to have them rescued, rather than to have them starve."
On Monday, Clermont County Animal Control officers rescued six live horses from the property, one donkey and a pony. All were abandoned without food or water. Price said neighbors and advocates warned county officials about the horses months ago.
"A lot of times what happens is the neighbors that see it, keep reporting it and reporting it, and the officials just turn a blind eye to it and they ignore it until there's dead animals on the property," Price said.
Clermont County authorities wouldn't say why it took so long to raid the farm. Authorities did send FOX19 a statement. Chief Animal Control Animal Officer Debra Wood said this is one of the worst horse cruelty cases she's seen in her 23 years working for the shelter. Wood added:
"This situation has been very difficult on our staff and it is entirely possible that the death count for the horses could go up. The Clermont County animal shelter is working with the Clermont prosecutor's office on possible animal cruelty and abandonment charges that could be filed against the caretaker of the animals."
County officials said the animals are now staying at a farm, but several groups including Clermont Co. SPCA and horse rescuers like Price worry the horses still aren't safe.
If convicted, Moore faces charges of animal cruelty and or abandonment. Each count could carry up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. County prosecutors said the penalties can be consecutive.
Anyone with information on Moore's whereabouts should call the Clermont County Sheriff's Office at: (513) 732-7500.