Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shelter to Auction off Horse

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shelter to Auction off Horse

Article excerpt

Dakota prances and paws at the ground, as if he's anxious to go home. But nobody knows yet where that will be.

The 3-year-old registered pinto is currently a ward of the Clay County Animal Control Department, which will auction him off to the highest bidder later this month.

"He's a pretty one," said Connie Goon, animal control director.

Goon said a deputy sheriff brought the palomino-colored stallion to the animal shelter a few months ago after removing him from an abusive home in Middleburg.

Authorities said Dakota was malnourished and severely underweight when officers arrived at the home on Canvasback Road April 21, four days after a warrant had been issued for his owner's arrest for animal cruelty.

According to a sheriff's report, the horse was "extremely skinny," had little energy and was suffering from diarrhea.

"This condition was not caused by any parasites or disease," the report stated. "The cause was from starvation aggravated by a large amount of sand in the intestine."

The reporting officer, Deputy Dennis Urban, said he saw a small metal box about 12 inches high that contained only about one inch of water, but he "did not observe any hay or grass in the pen with the horse."

The owner, a 34-year-old woman, was ordered in court two months ago to forfeit the horse to the county, pay restitution to the county for all veterinarian bills, perform 50 hours of community service and serve 12 months of probation supervised by the Salvation Army.

Thomas W. Nauman, a veterinarian at the Clay County Animal Hospital, examined Dakota at the request of the sheriff's office and began treating him in April.

"He was a very thin horse," Nauman said Friday. "It's pathetic how some people let 'em starve to death. It was pretty apparent the people didn't have the means to take care of the horse."

Since Dakota arrived at the animal shelter on Florida 16 near Penney Farms, he has been groomed regularly, fed a steady diet of nutritious food and regained his spirited ways, said Goon.

"He goes through spurts," she said. "When he's hungry and it's time for feeding he gets excited. …

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