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Animal Neglect Inquiries on Social Media Addressed By Holmes County Sheriff

Allegations of neglect at a Holmes County Horse Farm have been unsubstantiated by the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office. After the issue continued on social media, Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown has addressed inquires of Lewis Quarter Horses.

Earlier this year, the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of animal neglect at property belonging to Lewis Quarter Horses. According to the complaint, there were 31 neglected and emaciated horses at the property. Also a photograph began circulating on social media of a deceased horse being loaded into a trailer at the property. Deputies began an investigation and determined the large majority of the horses were healthy and well-fed. A few horses were determined to need some attention and the Florida Department of Agriculture was requested to assist in the investigation. 27 of the horses were determined to be healthy, well fed and all of their needs met. Only three horses were determined to need intervention and it was discovered the owners had been attempting to care for those horses and meet their needs. One horse was determined to have an injury to its side from running into a fence and the owners had been treating the wound. Two horses appeared underweight and it was determined that other horses were not letting them feed. The owners rectified that by giving them their own food trough. The horse with the eye wound had lost that eye in an accident from years ago; the wound to the eye was not infected or diseased. Another horse had a neck injury and that was determined to have occurred because the horse was a male and was trying to get across a fence to a female horse.

The investigation also revealed the deceased horse had been euthanized by the owners because of its old age and medical problems. A feeding and care plan was established for the horses and the Department of Agriculture conducted follow up inspections to ensure the horses were being taken care of. The owners have cooperated and complied with all plans.

Earlier Tuesday, the Holmes Sheriff’s Office received a photograph of a deceased foal allegedly at Lewis Quarter Horses through social media. Deputies learned the caretakers of the property notified the owners of Lewis Quarter Horses upon discovery of the foal. The foal appeared to be covered in afterbirth and was buried by the owners. Further investigation revealed the Florida Department of Agriculture also responded to the property earlier that day and did not observe any signs of abuse or neglect on any of the other horses.  

As of this time there has been no findings of abuse or neglect on the part of Lewis Quarter Horses.  Some of the photographs posted on Facebook and received by law enforcement were taken by trespassing on the property of Lewis Quarter Horses. The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office appreciates the public’s concern regarding animal abuse and neglect but wants to remind the public to respect the property rights of other citizens. The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Agriculture will continue to monitor the situation.

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