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Georgia Department of Agriculture Impounds 17 Saddlebreds

Commissioner Tommy Irvin of the Georgia Department of Agriculture hosted a press conference at the GDA Critical Care Equine Facility in Decatur to highlight the severe magnitude of neglect in 17 American Saddlebreds impounded from Elbert County. Approximately 10 out of 17 horses had body scores of 1 (1- 10 scale) and were near death. One additional horse was discovered dead on the property and improperly disposed. Elbert County Sheriff's Department has filed 18 counts of animal cruelty.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture impounded the 17 horses in Elbert County due to the owners' failure to provide adequate food and humane care. The horses were impounded from Richard and Christine McRae, 2476 Tex Smith Drive, Elberton. "One of the horses was in such poor shape that it had to be euthanized," said Commissioner Irvin.

"We took action under the authority of the Humane Care for Equines Act. The impounded horses will remain in the Department's care until they are nursed back to health. The owners will be called in for a settlement conference with the Department to address the violations," said Commissioner Irvin.

"Our inspectors worked through two nights getting these horses to safety and beginning to rehabilitate them. Our staff and volunteers are working hard to save the lives of these horses," said Irvin.

"Our horse rescue program is very successful and operates without any tax dollars being spent to rehabilitate and care for the horses," said Irvin. "Annually, we receive more than 1,000 complaints about possibly abused horses. Last year we impounded and cared for more than 120 horses."

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