The French animal protection organizationFondation 30 Millions d'amissaved 60 horses from a nightmarish situation on an discarded piece of land in Mayenne, north-west France on January 21, 2017.All 74 animals on the farm animals had been abandoned and left to their own devices.
The horses had been left to roam around a 4 hectare property, without food and only a muddy pond for water. Unable to graze on the crops, which had been destroyed by the cold, the animals were slowly wasting away.An inspection by veterinary services on January 26, led to the discovery of 13 bodies on the property, and another horse that had to be euthanized soon after. The next day, the Fondation 30 Millions d'amis was called to the property andarrivedin time to rescue 26 mares in urgent need of care, along with their foals.
The animals were so hungry that they followed their rescuers without hesitation, in the hopes of finding food. The association then proceeded to collect the rest of the animals for a few days afterwards and sadlydiscovered another horse that had been left aside, in a dark shed. The poor equine was blind and completely panicked.However, the rescue operation was far from over, as the horses were not used to human contact. They were extremely nervous about entering their containers, so transferring them to the shelter proved to be a bigger challenge than expected.Little by little, the hardworking volunteers were able to gain their trust, and the horses climbed into their trucks one after the other. They were then taken to a shelter to finally be cared for.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVKojzHjnG8[/embed]To get justice for the animals, the association filed an official complaint against the owner and on March 13, he received his sentence.The man will have to spend a year in prison followed by two years probation. He will also have a lifetime ban on owning animals and will have to reimburse the Fondation for all of the the charges that they incurred by treating and rehabilitating the animals.The farmer pleaded innocent to the charges, claimingthat he was suffering from financial difficulties, which left him unable to pay the rent for the land on which he farmed sheep, which was in turn supposed to finance the upkeep of the horses. He explained:
I used the sheep as capital to finance the upkeep of the horses. When they took that from me, I didn't even have the means to pay for hay: the horses had no chance. I asked the authorities to requisition feed to help me out, but by the time they responded, six horses had already died. If the veterinary services had acted quicker, we wouldn't be in this situation.
Ms Maryse Bierna, a lawyer for the French association, praised the court's decision:
It's the right verdict: it's rare that a mandatory jail term is given. Moreover, it's remarkable that a prosecutor would defend horses so much!
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