One of four severely malnourished horses seized from a ranch in East County had to be euthanized, according to the San Diego County Department of Animal Services.
Officers responded to reports of neglect at a residence near Boulevard Thursday night, found four horses and took away one immediately in an effort to save it. But its condition continued to worsen and -- after discussions with the treating equine veterinarian -- the decision was made to euthanize the horse Friday, according to animal services officials.
The other three horses had been kept in unsanitary conditions and they were rescued Friday afternoon. A veterinarian who examined them for medical issues determined that all three have hoof problems and may be pregnant.
"The owner lives in Minnesota and had left a caretaker in charge of the horses," County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson said. "The case is now under investigation but we may pursue charges against the caretaker, the owner or both."
The owner has 14 days to reclaim his horses if he or she shows he can provide the necessary care and if he can pay the cost of their impoundment, stabling and medical care, according to Danielson.
If the owner does not try to reclaim the horses, or cannot show he can provide the necessary care, the animals will remain at the animal services care facility in Bonita until they are healthy enough to be adopted.