Seized horses recovering from neglect, nearing adoption

CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- From a dairy farm in Conroe, some 200 horses seized last month by the Houston SPCA are recovering a day at a time. And now the time has come for the agency to begin to accept applications for adoption.

HSPCA was awarded custody of the so-called "Conroe 200." Their former owners face trial later this year on animal cruelty charges.

So many animals were seized, they were separated into smaller herds and placed on several pastures in the Houston area. The most seriously ill remain at the SPCA's stables, receiving constant medical care.

Some had wounds that were never treated. Others remain gaunt, with rib and hip bones protruding beneath dull coats. Nearly all have matted manes and tails.

What's encouraging is they now recognize the sound of the feed bucket, something they had forgotten over their time on that Conroe farm.

The plight of the horses touched a lot of people, including businesses in the Houston area that deal with livestock. Charlotte's Saddlery on the Katy Freeway has a large yellow sign asking for donations. Customers have been quick to respond.

Manager Suzanne Gwyn says two people dropped off checks for $1,000 for the cause. Other customers buy products at a deep discount to be given to the Houston SPCA for the horses care. "Even non-horse people are coming in and giving," she said.

The horses were not pets, and are having to be tested for temperament. "But they're becoming more socialized," said Brian Latham, with the SPCA. "They're used to seeing us and working with us, knowing we have their best interest at heart. I think they're more trusting."

It was the largest seizure of its kind for the agency, and it's costing a lot. So far, it's estimated the Houston SPCA has spent nearly half a million dollars on the horses housing and care. Latham says it hasn't taken from the mission to help other animals, like dogs and cats, but the SPCA is seeking donations to offset the unexpected cost.

Already, people are asking about adopting the horses, receiving inquiries from around the state, as well as the country.

For information on how to donate, to
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