[UPDATE] Thomas County, Georgia -- December 1, 2011 - Noon -
The couple accused of animal abuse back in early November has been sentenced. 41 horses were removed from Cecil and Kathleen Walker's home in Thomas County early last month. A veterinarian said some of the horses were severely malnourished. As of Monday, Cecil was charged with one count of animal cruelty. The couple was sentenced to eight months probation and must pay a $125 fine. They also forfeit the right to the 41 horses. The horses will be available for adoption and anyone interested can contact the Dancing Cloud Horse Rescue.
[UPDATE] Thomas County, Georgia -- November 5, 2011 5:45 PM
It's been four days since the horses were brought to the rescue center and while those close to the case say the horses are showing signs of improvement, they stress they still have a long road to recovery."
According to Dr. Mary Rogers, the forty hoses that were seized from Cecil and Kathleen Walker for abuse and neglect, are severely malnourished. Rogers says, "well, obviously they're very thin. They range in body condition, on a scale of one to nine, from a one point five to about a four. "
Another problem the horses are battling is rain rot which is brought on by a lack of grooming and overexposure to the elements. Rogers expects many of them will lose their coats.
Another major concern is parasite infection.
Roger says, "they have such heavy loads of parasites that they were actually expelling adult worms from, from their feces. And they have to be pretty heavily parasitized to do that."
Officials close to the case say they are seeing increased rates of neglected animals due to the struggling economy and say people should know they can voluntarily surrender their animals if they can no longer care for them.
Rescuer, Anita Meisen says "Contact the vet or contact us, and we will try to help them as best we can. Sometimes we can take the animal. Don't wait until they get in this condition."
The doctor says she expects a full recovery to happen within two to four months.
Thomas County, Georgia - November 3, 2011 6:00PM
Forty emaciated horses have been seized in the tiny town of Ochlocknee, Georgia.
Thomas County Sheriff's deputies are investigating and say the owners could be charged with animal cruelty.
Calls rang into the sheriff's office back in early October about the conditions of the horses and on Tuesday, November 1st, deputies executed a warrant at a home on Incognito Lane and seized all of them.
Investigators brought the horses to a nearby rescue center. Deputies say the horses belonged to Cecil and Kathleen Walker.
"You can see his backbone. He's covered in rain rot. His ribs are showing. His hips are showing and his backbone here is showing," says Dancing Horse Rescue President Anita Meisen.
Meisen believes many of the female horses may be pregnant. One has difficulty walking due to a broken leg.
She says the rescue center has saved many animals before, but never has she rescued this many in such bad condition.
The Rescue Farm is asking for donations and staff there tell us none of the horses will go up for adoption any time soon. Here's how you can adopt once they do:
Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 6
Ochlocknee, GA 31773
Georgia Equine Rescue League
Donations are said to cover veterinarian costs.
Thomas County, Georgia - November 3, 2011 - Noon -
The Thomas County Sheriff's Office recovered 40 horses on November 1st in an animal abuse investigation. Now those horses are at a rescue center.
Horses were taken to Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue. Some of the ribs are sticking out of the horses' sides and hipbones protrude from their bodies. Rescuers tell Eyewitness News that many of the female horses may be pregnant.
At this time, investigators say the suspects may face 40 charges of animal cruelty. The investigation is on-going.
Stay with WCTV for updates.