Rescue Groups Assist in Removal of Horses from Suspected Neglect on Monroe County Farm

Carlton, Mich. (February 19, 2015): Volunteers with Starry Skies Equine Rescue and Sanctuary and the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition braved sub-zero temperatures to assist Monroe County Sheriff’s officers in the removal of five horses from suspected neglect at a boarding stable in Carlton today.

Earlier this week, Monroe County Sheriff’s officers had been contacted by the owner of a “self-care” horse boarding stable in Carlton, who expressed concerns about the health of some horses at her facility. The officers and a local veterinarian found five horses at the site in an extremely emaciated condition, as well as a deceased pony. The officers then served a warrant to seize custody of the horses, which were transported to Starry Skies Equine Rescue in Ann Arbor for care and rehabilitation. The owner of the horses will be charged with felony animal cruelty.

Michigan’s animal cruelty law, MCL 750.50, requires that an owner provide animals (defined as “any vertebrate other than a human being”) with sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise, and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state of good health. If the violation involved between four and 10 animals, the owner could face a two-year felony charge, a fine of up to $2,000.00, or up to 300 hours of community service.

“People must understand that horses are covered equally under our state’s animal cruelty statute just like any other animal, and you can’t neglect, abandon, or harm them any more than you can a cat or a dog,” said Jodi Louth, vice president of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition. “We are tremendously grateful to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for pursuing this case in this bitterly cold weather, and to Starry Skies Equine Rescue for providing the surviving horses with the care they need.”

Donations for the care of the horses can be made directly to Starry Skies Equine Rescue by visiting!donate/ctzx, or can be mailed to the non-profit organization at 8133 W. Liberty Rd​., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

Temperatures in southeast Michigan have dipped to -10 degrees in the past week. During harsh winter weather, horses need plenty of high-quality feed, adequate shelter, dry ground, and regular care to maintain them in good health. Information on the proper care and feeding of horses can be found

The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition urges horse owners to seek assistance through our hay bank as soon as problems are detected, rather than waiting until animals are neglected and suffering and law enforcement needs to intervene. Our coalition of horse rescue groups, equine care professionals, and individual horse owners is standing ready to provide assistance to horse owners facing a temporary financial hardship, and to help law enforcement agencies and horse rescue operations deal with large-scale cruelty and neglect cases. We can also help horse owners to effectively plan for the future. Those seeking assistance from the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition’s hay bank can find eligibility guidelines and an application at, or by calling (517) 321-3683.


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