By Hal Scheurich, WALA
Seven dogs, including three pit bull puppies are in the Escambia County Animal Shelter after being rescued from their home in Century, Florida Wednesday. Animal Control officials took the pit bulls and one beagle after finding them terribly malnourished.
Panhandle Equine Rescue was called in when they discovered several horses in similar condition on the property. Four of those horses were also taken away. She says the owner was given a fair chance to do what was right.
"In the beginning, they did," Lowery said. "They pulled the horses out. They cleaned the stalls. They put shavings in. They built turn-outs for the horses, but as we went back to do our follow-ups, things just deteriorated once again."
Lowery says things got so bad, four of the horses were very malnourished. They were forced to stand in their own manure and one of them was locked in a barn 24-7. The animals were left without food and none was found on the property.
The animal's owner, Willie Lee Jones was out feeding the two horses and one dog still on the property Thursday. He says the horse locked in the barn was in there because of an injured foot and he's not happy with the way the situation was handled. He says he doesn't think the horses were in poor shape and he plans to do everything he can to get them back.
The dogs are under a legal hold at the animal shelter until the sheriff's office finishes its investigation. The horses are being cared for at the department's horse stables. Lowery says she hopes this action sends a strong message.
"The message needs to be that this won't be tolerated...not in Escambia County," Lowery said. "There's several violations of Florida Statute that need to be addressed and we really don't want to see him get these animals back, to where they'll go back into the same environment."
The horses are at the sheriff's stables because Panhandle Equine Rescue currently has no room for them because of other horses in need of adoption. No charges have been filed, but the investigation is on-going.
To report cruelty, call 850-587-2754.