Horses Decompose, Neighbors Call For Action

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jan 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-02 19:36:00-05

Two weeks after multiple animals were rescued from a property in Lewis County, three horses remained lying dead on the ground.

Neighbors in the Hohenwald community have complained to try to get the horses removed, but they have had no success to this point.

“It’s been a bad situation for a long time,” Jim Webb, a neighbor, said.

Webb has lived in Hohenwald his whole life. He raised his family on the same street he lives on now, and he has taken care of many animals over the years.

“I’m not an over-indulger, I’m not a P.E.T.A. kind of guy, but I’m a person who says, ‘If I’m responsible for them, they’ll eat. They’ll have a place to sleep. They’ll have a place to get out of the weather.’ It’s just humane,” Webb said. "It’s the right thing to do.”

On November 28, it was reported to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office that a horse had died and numerous other animals were starving at a home in Hohenwald.

Three weeks later on December 18, the Horse Plus Humane Society rescued 11 animals with help from authorities, but two more horses had died before they could intervene, leaving three horses dead.

Prior to the rescue, Webb said the property owners attempted to burn the carcass of one of the horses to no avail.

All of the animals that were rescued were close to starving to death and dehydrated, and while those animals have been on the road to recovery, the dead horses remained lying on the Hohenwald property.

“To me, it’s just like reckless endangerment for a whole community,” Webb said, adding that many of the surrounding houses, including his own and his daughter's, use wells, and he’s worried the dead horses could contaminate the water. “The longer it lays there, the higher the risk.”

Webb said he has contacted numerous agencies including the Sheriff’s Department, Health Department, and County Mayor’s Office in hopes the situation will be remedied.

“No one has made an effort to clean it up, no one has done anything,” Webb explained, adding that while the horses were not on public land, the consequences of leaving the corpses to decompose could cause a big problem. “The only thing I know to do next is to go to the lawyers and file criminal neglect and reckless endangerment. That’s the only choice I have, because it’s obvious that talking doesn’t work.”

NewsChannel 5 reached out to numerous local and state officials for comment, but were unable to reach them due to the holiday weekend.