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The original item was published from 3/14/2012 11:16:45 AM to 3/20/2012 3:44:49 PM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: March 13, 2012

[ARCHIVED] (Updated March 13, 2012) Press Release: Possible Abused Horses at Echo Valley Ranch

Park County Sheriff

Updated March 13, 2012:

On March 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM, I received a call from the center and I was told that “Chance” had returned from the clinic and was doing very well. He had responded well to the antibiotics’ and was not collapsing any more. I was advised that all the horses had been weighed again on March 08, 2012 and “Midnight’ was wormed on March 06, 2012. “Midnight” was the only one not thriving and gaining, but according to the veterinarian this was not uncommon when an older horse is “loaded with parasites.”

The weights were as follows:

Lena- 737- gained 47 pounds in 15 days

Midnight-793- gained 10 pounds 15 days

Fiona- 563-gained 58 pounds in 15 days

River – 587- gained 72 pounds in 15 days

Echo- 455- gained 50 pounds in 15 days

Chance-522- gained 57 pounds in 15 days

Updated February 23, 2012:

The Park County Sheriff’s Office had worked with the owner’s of the horses to have them placed in a safe location where they would be out of the elements and could receive the care they needed. The owner’s of the horses were cooperative and voluntarily agreed to allow us to remove their horses.

This morning the horses were officially seized under court order by the Park County Sheriff’s Office Code Enforcement Division. We felt the horses had improved enough to be transported. The six horses were placed at a location outside of Park County. The undisclosed location has on site veterinarians, to monitor their conditions and attend to their needs. Due to the attention this case has generated the facility has requested to remain anonymous. We will honor their request.

The Sheriff’s Office received a preliminary report on the horse that died at the Echo Valley Ranch. The necropsy determined the cause of death was due to a bacterial abscess near the horse’s heart. So in this case, it was an infection that killed the horse, however, we feel that the owners of the horses should have contacted a qualified veterinarian much earlier than they did. The six horses that were seized have shown improvement since being removed from the Echo Valley Ranch. The fact that they are all improving is a good sign. The horses are now the responsibility of the Park County Sheriff’s Office. We have received numerous calls from good folks who want to help these little horses out. We appreciate all your concern and your willingness to help. Interested persons can contact Sergeant Bobbi Priestly at (719)836-2494. Thanks again for all the offers of assistance.

The owners of the horses will be charged with three counts each of animal cruelty.

Updated February 21, 2012:

The Park County Sheriff’s Office Code Enforcement Division continued to monitor the horses at the Echo Valley Ranch in Northern Park County throughout the weekend.

The horses in question were moved to an undisclosed location in Park County Sunday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office felt this was necessary to avoid any complications that could arise and insure the safety of everyone involved.

The horses are being cared for and receiving medical treatment. At present we do not know if their condition is due to an illness of some kind, neglect, or combination of both.

There has been a lot of miss-information about this case. We would respectfully request that everyone allow the investigation to proceed. The Park County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Colorado State University, local vets and the Colorado State Vet’s Office to determine the cause of the horse’s severe medical condition. Ron Swift the owner of the horses has been cooperative with our investigation. We hope to have more information next week.

Original Press Release:

The Park County Sheriff’s Office received information about possibly abused horses at the Echo Valley Ranch in Northern Park County.

Code Enforcement deputies responded to the Ranch. Upon investigation and after conferring with the State Veterinarian’s Office and three other Vets it was decided it is in the best interest of the horses to leave them at Echo Valley Ranch and continue their treatment regiment at that location. We concur with the recommendation of those veterinarians

We will continue to monitor the situation including visiting the horses every other day. Our Code Enforcement Division is very experienced and well trained in dealing with these types of situations. The case is under investigation by the Park County Sheriff’s Office.

Contact Information:
Undersheriff Monte Gore
Office (719)836-4102
Cell (719)839-1181

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