Neighbors find dead horsesSENTINEL BUTTE — Two skinny dead snow-covered horses are among the first things a visitor sees when they go to a farm near Sentinel Butte.
SENTINEL BUTTE — Two skinny dead snow-covered horses are among the first things a visitor sees when they go to a farm near Sentinel Butte.
Neighbors say horses there are neglected and they have been taking care of the 10 or more remaining that have been starving for about two weeks. Two other horses were also found dead in a pasture, bringing the total to four.
Residents of Golden Valley and Billings counties are assisting in a possible case of animal abuse.
“We have called the Golden County Sheriff Scot Steele and the veterinarian in Beach, Dr. Bill Tidball, and both have been out to the alleged owners’ home to check on the animals,” said Wally Owen, a volunteer caretaker. “It’s been a slow process in trying to get the horses the help they need. We aren’t looking to cause trouble, just trying to do what is right by the animals.”
Someone who answered the phone at the alleged horse owner’s home Tuesday afternoon said the horses are being taken care of but would not elaborate or give her name.
Owen, along with Roger Clemmens, Sandy Baertsch, Pete Novotny and many others have been hauling hay, cleaning corrals and moving snow in an effort to help the horses.
“I took the last surviving colt in,” Baertsch said. “I had an extra stall and some hay. I love horses.
“I have four of my own I could not just stand by when I knew I could help.”
Owen said a vet warned volunteers against over-feeding the horses or giving them the wrong type of feed.
Volunteers moved the horses closer to the yard in an effort to provide shelter and make it easier to feed them, he said.
“It’s not that there isn’t food out there — there is a lot of grass but it’s buried under a good 2 feet of snow if not more in some places,” Owen said. “The horses can’t paw through far enough to get at it (grass) and the snow is so high I can barely walk through it.”
Golden Valley County has about 20 inches of snow on the ground, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
“It’s been a tough winter for all of us — people, wildlife, farm animals and pets alike,” said Baertsch.
Owen said he just hopes they can save the rest.
Robert A. Keogh, an attorney at Robert A. Keogh Law Office, said the best thing to do as a witness of animal abuse or neglect is to contact local authorities and report the case.
Calls to both Steele and Tidball were not returned Tuesday.