Suspect Faces Possible Animal Cruelty Charges after 24 Horses Confiscated
Photo of a malnourished horse
NUEVO – On Friday, animal control officers arrived at a ranch on 12th Street in the city of Nuevo, to evaluate and care for horses that were believed to in poor condition. A tip on Thursday lead to a visit by Animal Services Sgt. Lesley Huennekens, who was let onto the property by the owner. What she saw was enough to merit a warrant.
The owner of the horses, who was identified by KNBC-TV as Joseph Guivachon, was said to have been “not very cooperative.”
The county’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Allan Drusys, was at the scene making decisions about the needs of the horses. He told the Press Enterprise that, “In general, most, if not all of them, are underweight, some quite significantly.”
One horse was discovered thrashing on the ground, suffering from colic and had to be euthanized on the spot.
The owner, Joseph Guivachon, told the media that his horses are not in bad shape, and that they just needed to be fed more. Guivachon also stated he has been raising horses for decades.
Drusys noted that in addition to the poor condition of the animals, the grounds were badly maintained and there was a lack of food. He told the Press Enterprise that they were eating whatever was on the ground and that this was mostly manure.
“We’ll most likely file felony animal abuse” allegations and leave it up to the District Attorney’s Office to proceed, Drusys said.
After the Department of Animal Services finished with their efforts, spokesman John Welsh said 24 of the 39 horses on the ranch ended up being taken and placed with equine rescue shelters.