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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - December 2010
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JP awards SPCA custody of seized horses, owner out on bail



LIVINGSTON — Custody of a group of 17 horses and donkeys seized from a remote east Polk County residence has been awarded to the Houston SPCA, according to Ray Brown, an animal control offi cer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Offi ce. The decision came after a hearing held Nov. 22 in Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Steve McEntyre’s court. The 14 horses and three donkeys were living in substandard, “deplorable” conditions, according to SPCA offi cials. “The animals’ overall body conditions ranged from poor to emaciated and display signs of suffering from a range of long-term hoof and temperament issues,” according to a statement released by the SPCA. “The animals were so hungry that they resorted to eating the bark from the surrounding trees in the muddy, barren area where they were living,” Polk County animal control offi cers said. The animals are continuing to receive medical treatment at the Houston SPCA equine facility. James E. Thompson Jr., 53, of Livingston was arrested on two counts of cruelty to livestock animals and later released on two $5,000 bonds. Thompson will have two weeks to appeal the custody decision, Brown said. After arriving at the Houston equine facility, SPCA offi cials said the horses were beginning to settle down, since there is no longer a need to establish herd dominance and compete for food. Many of the animals apparently have never had medical care, SPCA offi cials said. After the appeals deadline passes and the animals’ health improves they will be evaluated for placement in permanent loving homes, said Charles Jantzen, SPCA’s Chief Cruelty Investigator.


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