Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier said a man was booked into the Parker County Jail on an animal cruelty warrant Wednesday morning.
Sheriff Authier said deputies and animal control officers were called to a welfare check of a horse in the 800-Block of Highland Circle in Springtown on July 25.
“What they found was disturbing,” said Sheriff Authier. “A paint mare was located on the property, which was severely malnourished, emaciated and near death. This is one of the worst cases of neglect we have ever investigated.”
The animal and property owner was identified as Lester Earl Calkins, 64.
Calkins admitted he knew the horse was in bad shape and he was just “waiting for it to die.”
Calkins told deputies the horse had been in a poor condition for a while because some days it just would not eat. He also claimed a farrier had treated the horse six weeks prior, but later recanted his statement, stating he was uncertain.
Sheriff’s investigators said the pasture where the horse was kept was overgrown with weeds and brush and had no grass. A water trough was located on the property but was covered in algae and contained dirty water with insects and debris. Sheriff’s deputies also reported the hay which was made available for the horse was rotten and molded. The horse was lethargic and thin with no muscle tone. Deputies observed its stomach sank inward deeply and its bones were visible through its coat. The horse’s hooves were overgrown with deep cracks, causing swelling in the lower portions of its legs. The horse also suffered from pressure wounds on its hips and legs and was unable to walk unassisted due to the severe condition of its hooves and weakness caused by malnutrition. Calkins reported he was unable to financially provide for the horse for the past year due to financial issues.
A local veterinarian was contacted and arrived on scene to medically assess the horse. Calkins willingly surrendered the horse to animal control officers which was taken to a veterinarian hospital for treatment.
Sheriff Authier said the horse’s condition had deteriorated too much to be saved.
“It’s a shame that the horse’s severe condition was beyond medical intervention,” said Sheriff Authier. “A veterinarian was forced to euthanize it. We believe the condition of the horse, its severe medical issues, starvation and euthanization were completely avoidable.”
A warrant was obtained for cruelty to non -livestock animals failure to provide food, water, care.
As of Wednesday afternoon, he remained in custody.
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