Sherri Smith has been around horses her whole life and in years…
Updated: Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 8:41 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 28 Sep 2009, 6:35 PM EDT
SUFFOLK, Va. - The owner of five horses who were found starving and tied to a tree off Wilroy Road in Suffolk last week has since been charged.
Suffolk police have arrested and charged Jennifer Harrell with five counts of Animal Cruelty, each of which carry up to one year in prison, as well as a $1,000 fine.
One of the horses found had to be put down. The 2-year-old mare was in pain and could no longer stand, according to animal control.
Three additional horses and a pony continue to recuperate at a Hampton Roads farm after being rescued from unthinkable conditions. The farm owner, who asked not to be identified, said she's never seen horses in such conditions.
"I was so shocked that someone would leave them out in the middle of nowhere with nothing. There was no feed pens, bottles of beer, really all they had was tree bark around there," she said.
WAVY.com was there when the animals were found off Wilroy Road last week. All of the horses were found tied to trees with dog leashes, given buckets of fresh water, but no food. After our story aired, a tip led Suffolk Animal Control to Harrell.
Now, under the watchful eye of their foster-caregiver, the animals love to roll around outside and eat. However, the amount of food they eat is carefully monitored, because their stomachs can't handle too much food at once.
"When we put them out in the grass, their heads never lift up. In here, it's their break and they'll eat a little hay," the caregiver said.
The horses remain grossly underweight by more than several hundred pounds. The two-year-old mare that was put down weighed a mere 480 pounds when it was found. Feisty at first, she started to go downhill and had to be tethered to an IV line, unable to stand.
Suffolk Animal Control is footing the bill for the food, medicine and vet care. It will be months before the horses are given a clean bill of health.
Opinions that are derogatory, attack other users or are offensive in nature may be removed. WAVY is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark or thread. To mark a comment for review by a moderator, click "Flag as inappropriate."