KENTON COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - Animal Control officers have their hands full after finding more than a dozen malnourished horses in Kenton County.
They say it is likely the result of the economy, saying animals can become the victims of financial hardship: voiceless victims who rely on their owners to ask for help.
Right now all the horses are being kept at the Kenton County Fairgrounds but very soon officials are hoping to send them to new homes with greener pastures.
For now, sixteen horses are chewing their way back to health after suffering various levels of malnutrition.
"If you can see the spine, the back hip bones, the bones protruding here," Kenton County Animal Control officer Scott Pracht explained while pointing out areas of visible malnutrition on an older horse.
Animal control officers say the initial call came from an anonymous tip that lead them to an owner who could no longer care for the horses who had begun to breed on their own and run wild on her property.
"I think it really comes down to the issue of not being able to ask for help," Kenton County Animal Shelter Director Dan Evans ventured."And realizing that help is out there."
"I think she thought she had more green pasture than she did," Pracht said of the owner. "I walked the full 45 acres. There was no green pasture, nothing but weeds. The creek was dried up, a small pond, just not a very good situation."
A veterinarian says all of the horses are expected to make full recoveries.
"They've put on one hundred pounds apiece in just the last few weeks," Pracht said. "Just with feeding them quality hay, quality grain."
An entire community has pitched in offering the food, care, and veterinary services the horses were lacking.
"When they first came in you were unable to touch them," Pracht explained. "Pretty much all of them were wild except for the two 30-year-olds we had."
Because the owner had decided to sign the horses over, Kenton County Animal Control has decided not to pursue a potentially lengthy and costly court battle, at least for now.
"The charges are still able to be filed if things don't go right," Evans said.
He says right now the focus is on getting the horses into new homes.
"I don't want to take them out of one bad situation and place them right back into another," he explained.
Evans says they are starting the adoption process, but that interested owners will have to be checked-out to make sure they have the knowledge and the resources to provide a good home.
"This is going to be a long process," Evans acknowledged. "They didn't get in this condition overnight nor will they get better overnight."
Currently the Kenton County Animal Shelter is looking for interested owners to pay 100 dollars for the adoption to defray the cost of veterinary bills. All horses have been under veterinary care since they were picked up by Animal Control and have since received all necessary vaccinations.
People who cannot adopt can still help by sponsoring one of the horses through donations.
For more information call the Kenton county Animal Shelter at 859-356-7400.