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The Sheriff's Office have filed a civil petition to regain permanent custody of the horses.
On January 24, 2014, a Hillsborough court awarded custody of two horses to the Sheriff's Office following an animal neglect hearing that resulted from an investigation by HCSO agriculture detectives. Subsequently, the horses were donated to RVR Horse Rescue, 12611 Hayes Clan Road, Riverview, on January 26, 2014.
On April 2, 2014, a detective from the Sheriff's Office agriculture unit went to RVR Horse Rescue to see the progress of the horses. The detective was alarmed to find that the horses, an Arabian mare and a Tennessee Pinto mare, were grossly underweight and apparently malnourished.
The detective consulted with a supervisor, and against the objections of RVR Horse Rescue personnel, the horses were taken from the rescue and transported to a Sheriff's Office facility.
Both horses were examined by a veterinarian who confirmed that they were malnourished and had gained little or no weight in the time they were cared for by RVR Horse Rescue.
A second veterinarian from the University of Florida confirmed the original diagnosis and the veterinarians informed detectives the horses should have gained a pound or more a day if fed and cared for properly.
Detectives have initiated a criminal investigation into the care of the horses by RVR Horse Rescue and a civil petition to regain permanent custody of the animals will be filed by Sheriff's Office attorneys today pursuant to Florida law.
Lawyers had initially attempted to negotiate voluntary surrender of the horses from RVR Horse Rescue over the past week, but operators of the rescue refused and maintained no neglect despite the reports by the veterinarians.
The criminal neglect investigation will continue and detectives will forward the results to the State Attorney's Office for review.
The investigation continues.
Sheriff's Office Investigates Neglect At Horse Rescue:
Photos Of Two Horses:
- Photos of the two horses seized on December 27, 2013.
- Photos of the same two horses seized from RVR Rescue on April 3, 2014.