Riverside County Animal Service officers on Wednesday seized 14 horses that they say were underweight from a Nuevo property owner previously investigated for animal neglect last year.
Sgt. Lesley Huennekens, the same investigator who impounded 23 horses in March 2016, served the owner, Joseph Guy Vachon, with a search warrant and he voluntarily relinquished the horses, according to the statement.
“Last year, Mr. Vachon was somewhat combative and uncooperative,” Huennekens said in the release. “But on Wednesday he appeared to want to do what was right for the animals.”
The 14 taken off the property Wednesday had been on the property during last year’s investigation, officials said. The ones left with Vachon – mostly stallions – were in better condition than the 23 previously seized by officers, according to county authorities. Investigators said it appears Vachon failed to care for the remaining animals.
Last year, Vachon defended his treatment of the horses, saying the animals were on the thin side because of their age, not because they had been underfed. Older horses, he said, tend to be thinner.
During Wednesday’s operation, a mare did not want to be trailered, according to officials. A video from the seizure shows the animal running from officers, but they eventually manged to get her inside the trailer without injuring the animal, authorities said.
Rescuers took the 14 horses seized Wednesday to two county shelter locations: the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus in San Jacinto and the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.
Animal Services will now begin searching for homes for the horses through various equine rescue groups, officials said. All horses are immediately available for adoption. Officials ask experienced horse owners who may want to adopt the horses to…