RAMONA, Calif. - Animal control officers seized nearly two dozen more unhealthy horses this week from a North County woman from whom they impounded 10 others two months ago, authorities reported Thursday.
The 22 horses and foals were confiscated Monday at property owned by Lori Patton of Ramona, according to the county Department of Animal Services. The officers simultaneously took custody of eight dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a guinea pig and three pet mice.
Personnel with the county agency had been monitoring the herd of horses since the May 23 seizure to make sure the animals were receiving proper care.
DAS officers said they recently noticed that a number of the horses were becoming thin and posted a notice at Patton's property last week, stating that the animals would be seized if their conditions failed to improve.
Patton then requested a hearing to contest the proposed seizure. It was held last Friday, and the supervising officer's decision three days later authorized the seizure of all animals on the property.
"The owner was not providing the necessary care to improve the health of the horses, which left us no choice but to seize her animals and take them into protective custody," said Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson.
A veterinarian examined the horses and found they were all below the proper weight and that some needed dental care. Treatment regimens were then undertaken.
A criminal investigation also was ongoing, Danielson said.
Patton has 14 days to reclaim her animals if she shows she can provide the necessary care and attention for them and if she can pay the cost of their seizure, housing and medical care.
Most of the horses taken from Patton last spring when they were found without food and water have been adopted, according to the animals-services agency.
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