HOUSTON – The Houston Humane Society took custody of a horse Tuesday after it collapsed in the middle of West Montgomery Road near the Acres Homes area of Houston.
One person was riding on the horse's back while another led him with a rope. A police officer saw the horse go down.
"They were attempting to ride the horse when it collapsed," said Monica Schmidt with the Humane Society. "The officer saw it happen, he pulled them over and stopped them from forcing the horse to go any further."
The officer secured the scene and contacted the Humane Society to come and begin an investigation.
"The horse has obviously been neglected for a really long time," Schmidt said. "It's severely underweight, the ribs are very pronounced, the hip bones are pronounced. There are open wounds that are old and already infected. It's in really bad shape."
One woman at the scene claimed to be the horse's owner, she was taken in on two outstanding warrants and the authorities will pursue cruelty charges on her.
Humane Society workers believe the horse is 11-12 years old and about 250 pounds underweight. They don't think it would have made it through the night had they not stepped in. The horse is too skinny and weak to handle the cold weather.
"Horses burn more calories in the cold, it's their body's way of trying to stay warm," Schmidt said. She explained that in the winter horses need to eat more and this horse was starving.
The Humane Society took custody of three other horses on Tuesday, as well. Not far from West Montgomery, officers found a dead horse near a property on Beckley Road. They believe the horse died in Monday night's cold. It was also underweight.
"The horse just couldn't make it through the night because of the cold" Schmidt said. "It's just harder on their bodies than normal. Our horses aren't acclimated to this kind of weather, they're more acclimated to the heat and humidity than they are freezing temps."
Two other horses on the same property were found to be underweight. Police told Local 2 they had no access to food or water and no protection from the cold. One of the horses is only 8 months old. The other is believed to be 5 years old.
All of these cruelty cases are now under investigation.
If you see a horse out in the cold or one that needs medical attention. Contact Humane Society cruelty investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org