UPDATE: Chickasaw Co. neglected horses rescued - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Chickasaw Co. neglected horses rescued

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CHICKASAW CO. (KWWL)--- It's a marked improvement at the rural Fredericksburg farm where more than a dozen horses we're discovered in dire condition Sunday.  Tuesday, 13 horses were removed from the property.  And we're getting insight into how a repeat animal neglect offender may have been able to pull it off again.

All of these horses are now in safety after being discovered in near-death condition in this barn Sunday.  The Equine Rescue League has taken these animals to an undisclosed location where they can heal. 

"These people specialize in animal care for horses, and they're taking them to their lots where they can keep watch and constantly monitor their health," said Chickasaw Co. Sheriff Marty Larsen.

What's disturbing to so many people is that the man who owned these horses has previously spent time in jail for animal neglect.  Amanda Johnson heads up the Rural Iowa Animal Rescue in Buchanan County.  She says now it is easier than ever for people to get their hands on horses.  And many times, the end result is a lot like what happened in Chickasaw County this week.

"The horse market has gone down in the past few years.  We see a lot of horses come in starved.  Even the economy has affected how much money people have for hay.  People are scrounging around for free or cheap horses, but they're not able to take care of them," Johnson said.

And when that happens, animal owners will often do their best to hide what's happening.

"They'll hide the animals in a barn so they can't be seen from the road.  So when things do happen, we rely on neighbors a lot to report it," Johnson said.

Rescue organizations like this one do their best to stop abusers in their tracks.  Known animal neglecters are black listed so they can't adopt horses.  And all applicants undergo background checks. Many of the rescue groups will even taken in neglected animals with no questions asked, if the owner is willing to surrender them.  It's all part of the effort to prevent situations, like the one that unfolded in Chickasaw County, from happening again in the future.

Charges have yet to be filed against the owner of the horses in Chickasaw County.  Meanwhile, the sheriff's office will be working with the sanitation department and Iowa Department of Agriculture to remove the remaining carcasses of the six dead horses.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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