WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — More than a dozen horses were seized from a home in Thrall after authorities say the animals were neglected and mistreated.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office says they started looking into the property located in the 2500 block of County Road 426 after receiving a tip about the conditions of the horses earlier this week. The Wilco Animal Control Unit went in on Friday morning and seized 14 horses: two that were emaciated and 12 ponies that were overfed. Deputies say that led to what’s called “elf foot,” where their feet are overgrown and curl.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody says this is the worse case of animal cruelty his deputies have ever seen. “If you look at their eyes you can almost see it from the pictures, the misery,” says Chody. “These horses can’t even walk, they can’t even walk to the trough to get water. I mean they’re slowly dying and in fact, there’s fear but likely, that one of these horses will have to be put down.”
In an update Friday evening, Chody said one of the horses had to be put down.
The horses were taken to Live Oak Horse Veterinary Clinic in Liberty Hill where they are currently being treated. Chody says his office isn’t sure how it’s going to pay to board and feed all the horses, he says they may be asking the public for help.
The owner, Jesse Gonzales Jr., 69, was arrested and faces three counts of cruelty to livestock. Officers say he was not cooperative when they spoke to him earlier this week after receiving the tip the horses were being abused.