Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19464
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
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Thursday, Mar 1, 2012

County: Haywood

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 1 files available

Alleged: Toney S. Martinez

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A Haywood County horse that died last weekend succumbed to starvation and a severe parasitic infestation that indicated a pattern of neglect, preliminary results of a post-mortem examination show.

Bucky, a 6-year-old quarter horse stallion who died Sunday, is at the center of a Haywood County animal control investigation into possible animal cruelty.

The badly emaciated horse, which had been tethered for years, underwent a necropsy Monday at the Western Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Arden, a facility operated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

"It's clearly a neglected animal," Dr. Richard Oliver, a veterinarian at the lab who examined Bucky, said Wednesday. "It looks like a malnourished horse that had complications from parasites. It looks like a horse that just didn't get the benefit of any good care."

Infestation from blood worms, a common horse parasite, was so pervasive that Bucky suffered damage to his colon, Oliver said.

"It's been 27 years since I've seen a case that was this severe in terms of damage to the arteries of the colon," he said. "You just don't see that much these days because of the products that are out there to treat worms."

Oliver said Bucky weighed 700 pounds. A stud quarterhorse in good condition should weigh 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, he said.

"The animal was very malnourished," he said. "It looked like he was deficient in protein for some time."

Haywood County animal control director Jean Hazzard could not be reached Wednesday. She said earlier this week she would await the results of the necropsy before deciding whether to file animal cruelty charges against the horse's owner.

She has declined to identify the Waynesville owner, citing the ongoing investigation and the fact that no charges have been filed.

Hazzard said animal control had checked on Bucky several years ago after someone complained about his appearance, but his condition didn't warrant intervention.

Animal control investigated Bucky's condition again two weeks ago after another complaint. On March 1, he was taken to STAR Ranch Rescue in Waynesville after the owner relinquished ownership.

Bucky had appeared to be on the road to recovery, but he died Sunday morning at STAR Ranch after thrashing about in pain.

The parasites and their effects on his digestive system likely was the cause of the pain, Oliver said.

STAR Ranch co-founder Karen Owens said she had gotten a copy of the preliminary necropsy report.

"He had no food, and the worms just took him down," she said.

Ranch workers began treating Bucky for worms soon after his arrival, Owens said, but the horse's health was so compromised it was an uphill battle.

"By the time we got him, he was just so full of worms," she said. "The worms actually infiltrated his bloodstream. It just makes me sick. It was heartbreaking. It just makes you want to cry, and the next thing is you just get flat-out mad."

After word spread about Bucky, the horse rescue was inundated with visits from well-wishers, calls of support and donations, Owens said. Monetary donations exceeded the cost of Bucky's care, so Owens set up a fund named for Bucky. Donations made to the fund will go to care for other horses in similar circumstances in the future, she said.

"Thanks to all the people who have sent donations," Owens said. "The response has been very helpful. I know there are people out there who care, and it's nice to hear from people like that."

Case Updates

Haywood County authorities have filed an animal cruelty charge against the Waynesville owner of a malnourished horse that died earlier this month.

An arrest warrant was issued this morning for misdemeanor animal cruelty against Toney S. Martinez, 43, of 53 Cindy Lane, said Haywood County animal control director Jean Hazzard.

Martinez's first court appearance is April 18.

Martinez was the owner of Bucky, a 6-year-old quarter horse stallion that died March 11 at STAR Ranch Rescue. Martinez relinquished ownership of the horse March 1 after animal control began an investigation into Bucky's condition.
Source:" target="_new"> - Mar 19, 2012
Update posted on Mar 19, 2012 - 9:16PM 


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