Habitat for Horses Rescues Survivors
by Sana Syed, CBS 11 Dallas
LEONARD (CBS 11 / TXA 21) ―Habitat for Horses and authorities in Fannin County have discovered dozens of dead donkeys and horses, on a property in Leonard, about 60 miles northeast of Dallas, near the Oklahoma border.
Officials say they found at least 22 dead miniature donkeys, and at least three dead horses in a field.
“There’s a dead animal, there’s a dead animal, there’s a dead animal, you have to be careful where you drive, there’s so many dead animals lying around here. This is heartbreaking.”
“We all know, we just suffered four days of the arctic chill, these animals were in no shape to survive that” says Murillo.
Several bones were also found. Murillo believes these animals were in horrible condition for months and the freeze sent most of them over the edge.
A neighbor tipped off Fannin County Sheriff‘s deputies Sunday morning. Investigators found 25 carcasses total. Three were horses, the rest were miniature donkeys.
Even though the sun has been shining for hours on a day that is supposed to be well above freezing, the animals’ primary source of water is still a solid sheet of ice. In some parts, it is up to an inch thick.
Murillo ran to the pond as soon as she realized what had happened and poked holes in the pond for the surviving animals.
“Those little donkey hooves that you saw were not able to break through that. That’s why there’s 20-something dead donkeys here.”
The owner wouldn’t talk to CBS 11, but he told investigators he hit a rough spot in his life financially and couldn’t afford to take care of his animals. But Nancy Gracey with Habitat for Horses says that’s not a good excuse.
“How can anybody go to sleep knowing that the animals they are responsible for are freezing to death, starving to death” says Gracey.
The surviving eight miniature donkeys and seven horses will now be rehabilitated at Gracey’s home before being put up for adoption. Fannin County Sheriff’s deputies say the owner will likely be arrested, and could faces up to 25 counts of cruelty to animals.