A horrific case of animal cruelty, that left a miniature horse disabled, possibly permanently. The Ohio SPCA rescued the horse from a home in Morgan County.
They say they've never seen anything like the condition he was in.
It's a horse's nature to trot and gallop. But the neglect this miniature horse suffered left him unable to do either.
His name is Fabio.
"Because of his long golden locks that resemble the celebrity Fabio on romance covers." The name was chosen by volunteers with the Ohio SPCA. They say his owner never bothered giving him a name, or the most basic of care. "He simply wasn't trimmed. We estimate for probably close to seven years," said Ohio SPCA Director Teresa Landon.
It's not his mane that wasn't trimmed, but his hooves, to the point that they had grown into hideous spirals. "To where in the front if he walked, it hit his leg because it was so curled up. And then the hind ones, they were twisted to where he was moving differently,” said Dr. Christopher Beinlich of Woodland Run Veterinary Clinic.
"We were horrified. It's one of the worst, if not the worst, hoof case we've ever seen,” said Landon.
If it's painful to look at, we can only imagine how it felt.
But Beinlich says it was more than that, pointing to an X-ray of Fabio’s hooves.
"You can see the hoof is completely grown in a spiral. And as you follow the bones down, they're nice and in alignment. When you get to the coffin bone or the foot bone, which is inside the hoof, it is tilted,” forcing his legs over the years into an unnatural position. "It's almost comparable to us walking on the outside of our ankles,” he said.
"We were shocked,” said Landon. “This animal could barely move. Steps were very labored for him."
Because the case was so extreme, Beinlich consulted expert farriers from Kentucky on how to proceed. "What we basically did was we cut them in half initially, standing, let him just adjust to that for a week or so, then cut them in half again to where he still had extra but it wasn't hindering him as much.”
The hooves that were removed weighed in in at 15 pounds, the longest of them 12 inches.
The Ohio SPCA says the owner knew what care the horse needed, just chose not to give it. "That's deliberate neglect, and under the Ohio Revised Code, that's animal cruelty,” said Landon. “Because this animal has suffered for a number of years. He's now got damage to his body that's permanent, and it all could have been prevented."
The Ohio SPCA is putting together its case for possible charges to be filed by the Morgan County Prosecutor. Once Fabio has had additional treatment, he will be placed up for adoption.