More than 200 emaciated horses were rescued from a dairy farm in Houston, USA, last week (25 June).

The horses were rescued by the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) at the request of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.

“Many of the horses are emaciated, in need of hoof care and were suffering from open wounds,” said a spokesman for Houston’s SPCA’s.

“Our veterinary medical and animal welfare teams are in action providing critical care for these horses,” she added.

SPCA rescued horses near Conroe 622x350-5The owners of the horse ranch, Herman and Kathleen Hoffman were arrested and charged with three counts of animal cruelty.

They have been released from jail but have not been allowed back onto the property.

President of Houston SPCA Patricia Mercer told ABC Eyewitness News: “We have more than 200 horses and we are going to be doing blood work, diagnostics on these horses and farrier work.”

She said many of the horses had never had their feet trimmed and were in a “very bad condition.”

Ms Mercer said her team was collecting evidence for the county attorney’s office for this week’s anticipated custody hearing.

SPCA rescued horses near Conroe 622x350SPCA investigators moved the worst 12 cases to its own premises, leaving the rest of the horses on the farm in Montgomery county to be cared for by officials.

Montgomery county attorney JD Lambright said there was evidence of bones on the farm and the investigation “will be ongoing.”

The SPCA said the horses’ veterinary care and rehabilitation could cost half a million dollars.

“We have a huge job ahead of us,” Mercer told Eyewitness News. “It’s unusual to do a seizure on site, but because of the sheer number of horses involved, we’ve elected to take the most critical horses back to the Houston SPCA.”

The seizure is one of the largest in the country.