Nearly two dozen undernourished horses – plus many other animals – were seized from a ranch in Ramona this week by the County Department of Animal Services (DAS).
According to the DAS, 22 horses and foals, along with eight dogs and puppies, one cat, one rabbit, one guinea pig and three mice were taken from a property belonging to Ramona resident Lori Patton on Monday.
Just two months ago, the DAS seized 10 horses from Patton’s ranch. The animals were found near the roadway along highway 78, undernourished and without food and water.
Since then, the DAS had been monitoring Patton’s herd to ensure her animals were receiving the proper care.
In recent weeks, animal control officers noticed several horses becoming thin. Officers posted a notice at Patton’s property on Jul. 15 stating the animals would be seized if conditions did not improve.
Officials say Patton requested a hearing to contest the seizure. That hearing took place on Friday, at which point a hearing officer authorized the DAS to seize all animals on Patton’s property.
DAS officials say a veterinarian examined all 22 horses and determined they were below the proper weight. Some were also in need of dental care.
The animals are now receiving treatment.
Animal Services director Dawn Danielson says the investigation into this case is ongoing, but believes seizing the animals was the right move.
“The owner was not providing the necessary care to improve the health of the horses which left us no choice but to seize her animals and take them into protective custody,” said Danielson.
From here, the DAS says Patton has 14 days to reclaim her animals if she’s able to show that she can provide the necessary care for them and pay the cost of their impoundment, housing and medical care.
As for the 10 horses seized from Patton’s ranch back in May, the DAS said most of those horses have since been adopted.