The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) made some shocking discoveries at a therapeutic riding facility called Horses 4 Hope in Pohatcong Township. The investigation took place in March after several complaints were made about the condition of the animals. Some horses showed signs of botulism and 13 out of 37 had body scores below the minimum 2.0 required for livestock under New Jersey humane law.
Aiyanna Callaway, 33, is charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty based on the findings of the SPCA investigation and witness reports of neglect and mistreatment leading to serious bodily injury or death.
State officials said they put the farm on quarantine after receiving information that Callaway would place shrink-wrapped hay in the field and leave it up to the horses to rip through the plastic with their teeth. Reports also state that the horses did not have adequate access to fresh water.
Contaminated plastic is believed to be the source of the Botulinum toxin the horses were exposed to. Botulism in horses is known as forage poisoning and causes neurological symptoms such as trouble breathing, eating and swallowing, progressive weakness, and eventual death in both adult horses and foals.
According to authorities, the animals were denied proper care by Callaway. After being seized from the property, 5 horses were euthanized due to advanced botulism poisoning.
The Horses 4 Hope Facebook page has been changed to Horses 4 Hope Awareness, which appears to be run by concerned local equestrians looking to expose the truth and help ensure that no more horses are exploited or harmed.
Warning: The page contains graphic images of severely emaciated and deceased horses.
Callaway’s hearing is set for July 13 at Pohatcong Municipal Court.
H/T to Lehigh Valley Live
Featured Image via Facebook/Horses 4 Hope Awareness