STILLWATER, Okla. —
A Stillwater woman will avoid animal neglect or cruelty charges if she follows veterinarian instructions to nurse her 34-year-old old horse back to health, Undersheriff Garry McKinnis said.
Residents became concerned after photos of the severely thin animal were posted online.
McKinnis released a portion of a report written by veterinarians at the Oklahoma State University Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. According to the sheriff’s office, veterinarians Rebecca Baumruck and Jennifer Donofrio evaluated the horse’s health.
The report said Cody, a male horse at least 20 years old, “is grossly underweight and in poor health. He is in need of immediate veterinary attention and improved husbandry practices.”
The report stated the reason for the severe weight loss was unknown. It recommended additional diagnostics including a complete blood count, chemistry panel, abdominal ultrasound, abdominocentesis, rectal exam, oral exam and absorption testing.
According to the document, Cody weighs 700 to 800 pounds but his ideal weight is an estimated 1,100 to 1,200 pounds. The report recommended a four-point feeding plan including increasing consumption of Purina Equine Senior, high quality grass hay, free choice fresh water in a clean receptacle and a trace mineral block.
Elizabeth Doyle, Cody’s owner, said her horse looks emaciated and sickly because he is more than 30 years old with digestive problems. She said his health problems are due to people sticking food through the fence.
“Those supposed humanitarians are actually trying to kill the horse,” Doyle said. The owner added that if she didn’t want to take care of the horse she could have had him euthanized years ago. She is asking those who have been feeding her horse through the fence or trespassing on the 20-acre plot Cody roams to cease or she will contact the authorities.
McKinnis said Doyle has been informed that the district attorney’s office will not file animal cruelty charges if the regiment is followed.
McKinnis said people who believe the horse has been abandoned and left to die are wrong. He said the owner is present and able to care for the horse.
According to the report and Sheriff R.B. Hauf, the veterinarians did not indicate abuse or neglect. Hauf said if they had told him the horse was abused or neglected, deputies would have been able to seize the horse immediatly regardless of charges being filed.
“We have to rely on the veterinarian’s expertise,” Hauf said. “I have no ability to legally remove the animal.” The sheriff said he and the deputies take animal abuse and neglect cases very seriously.
“We file charges when we can, we have done so in the past and we don’t hesitate,” Hauf said.