More Worries for Troubled Horse Owner

BLAIR – The owner of a pair of horses that entered the custody of Fairfield County Animal Control in a state of malnutrition last May and that died approximately one month later is under additional scrutiny from County officials for the condition of three additional horses on his property.

According to documents obtained by The Voice through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the owner of the horses, Michael Crosby, 61, of Shelton Road, Blair, has not followed to the letter recommendations made by a Camden equine vet during her initial assessment of the horses on July 24. In her Aug. 10 report to Fairfield County, Dr. Nicole Cunningham, of S.C. Equine Associates, Inc., stated that while the horses appeared to be gaining weight and were being fed daily, “no hay had been provided as recommended during the initial evaluation.”

The horses are scheduled to be reevaluated on Sept. 23.

“If changes are not made by that time and the horses have not improved in their condition,” Cunningham wrote in her report, “I recommend that action be taken to remove the horses from their current environment.”

Milton Pope, Fairfield County Interim Administrator, said a decision to remove the horses would come from the Sheriff’s Office. Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery told The Voice Monday that his office was prepared to do so.

A Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputy was called to the pasture at 1510 Highway 215 N. where the horses are held on July 22. No mention was made in the incident report of the horses’ weight; however, the report states that Crosby was advised that “the horses needed to be fed every day.” Crosby reportedly told the deputy that he would do “whatever Dr. Cunningham told him to do.”

One of the horses, a filly, was limping on her left front leg, according to the incident report. Cunningham’s Aug. 10 report did not mention any injuries to the horses, although it did state that during her Aug. 10 assessment, the filly was unable to be rounded up for examination.

“. . . it was decided that rather than risk injury to (the filly) or her handlers, Mr. Crosby would attempt to get her used to wearing the halter over the next few weeks.”

Cunningham did examine two mature horses, male and female, and delivered an initial round of vaccinations to each, checking both for parasites. Cunningham also performed a pregnancy test on the mare and recommended castration for the stallion. The castration, however, “cannot be done in the horse’s current environment,” she wrote in her report.

Cunningham said lab results would be reported to the County as they arrive, but stressed the need for hay for the horses as the weather begins to turn cool.

“It is also recommended that supplemental hay be provided to ensure that the horses will not start the winter in a negative energy balance,” Cunningham wrote.

While the County ordered the vet visits, Crosby has been picking up the bill, Pope said.


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