Seven horses in Lawrence County, Tennessee are beginning their new lives. But their rescuers say they have a long road of recovery ahead of them.
Last week, Jessica Yokley and volunteers with the Lawrence County Animal Welfare League were called out to a home off Legg Lane. What they found was disturbing.
"I was absolutely devastated. There were three dead horses that I could see at the time and they were just laying out. One of them was a colt.," recalls Yokley.
Yokley says a fourth horse was discovered rotting behind the home.
"Its something I see all the time unfortunately. But every time it still hurts and you end up leaving in tears," she says.
Yokley and animal cruelty investigators with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office immediately took action to save the other seven horses. Most of the survivors were clinging to life on the brink of starvation.
They were just skin stretched over bones. On one of the horses, the bottom of the halter that goes around his chin had broken and they'd replaced it with a chain. Over time the chain had grown about an inch and a half into the muscle of his chin and the skin had grown over the chain.
Rachel Brown and her husband are fostering two of the rescued horses. She says there is no excuse for this level of neglect.
"You know I understand hardships and all that but there's no excuse to let them suffer. They don't have any say," says Brown.
Investigators say the horses owners are out of town and that the animals were temporarily left in the care of a teenager. They say the owners aren't expected to return until after Thanksgiving. Brown and Yokley say they won't rest until they are held responsible for neglecting these animals.
"Until people start getting punished for things like this its going to continue and it needs to stop," says Brown.
Visit the Lawrence Co. Animal Welfare League Facebook Page or contact Jessica Yokley at (615) 430-9501 or firstname.lastname@example.org