A group of more than 20 horses is up for adoption after being neglected and near-starved.
More than two dozen horses seized from a ranch in Ramona last month have been nursed back to health and are ready to be adopted into caring, loving homes.
On Jul. 22, the County Department of Animal Services (DAS) seized 22 undernourished horses from a property belonging to Ramona resident Lori Patton because the animals were being neglected and were not receiving proper nutrition and care.
Just two months before that, the DAS took 10 horses from Patton’s Ramona ranch after the animals were found near the roadway along State Route 78, undernourished and without food and water.
Now, nearly one month later, the 22 horses are healthy once again thanks to help from some local horse ranches and animal control officials.
“These horses were in need of immediate care so they were seized and provided that care and we've basically been treating them and getting them back to health," said DAS Lt. Laura Ward.
The recovery of the horses has taken a lot of work, and quite a few loving hands. The animals were either underweight, needed dental work, suffered from hoof problems -- or all three issues – officials said.
Local Katie Murphy trains horses, and she wants to help one of the horses named “Pastel.”
“We’ve got pasture, we’ve got space for them and we've got some older retirees, so we could put something out and just let them be a horse if that's what they need,” said Murphy.
On Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., the county’s Animal Care Center in Bonita located at 5821 Sweetwater Road, will accept silent bids for the horses. There are 22 horses up for adoption, and four of them are babies who will need to stay with their mothers as a pair.
Bidding starts at $100 per horse, but Lt. Ward says there are some requirements for prospective owners.
"We look at everybody's history we try to screen everybody very carefully. We’re looking to make sure these horses get in a forever home,” said Ward.
Those who may be interested in adopting one of the horses must submit an application online prior to Saturday’s adoption event by visiting this website.
The Animal Care Center is also open Friday for those who’d like to meet the horses in person prior to the auction. The horses can also be viewed Saturday beginning at 8 a.m.
In the meantime, the investigation into Patton, the original owner of the horses, is ongoing.
DAS officials say the 10 horses seized from Patton’s ranch earlier prior to this incident have all since been adopted.