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The Fayetteville Observer

Three foals seized in Cumberland County showed signs of injury, affidavit states

By F.T. Norton, Fayetteville Observer,

30 days ago

Editor's note: This is an updated version of the original story.

Three young foals showed signs of injury prior to the removal last week of seven horses from a Cumberland County horse farm following allegations of animal abuse, an affidavit states.

On Aug. 21, officers with Cumberland County Animal Services removed a total of five foals — ranging in age from 2 to 5 months old — and two nursing mares from Witts End Quarter Horses in Cedar Creek, officials said.

The removals came after a video surfaced online showing a foal being dragged by a vehicle and beaten purportedly on the property at 4849 Enniskillen Road.

In an affidavit requesting a warrant to seize the animals, Officer Kirsten Long, enforcement officer for Animal Services, recounted the events that led up to the seizures.

The affidavit states that Officer Christy Barber first visited Witts End Quarter Horses on Aug. 15 after the allegations of “equine cruelty” were leveled against the owners.

Related: Allegations of animal abuse result in horses being removed from Cumberland County property

“ASO Barber observed the reported 3-month-old foal on the property to have lacerations/abrasions under both ears and under the muzzle along the jawline that are conducive to halter burns due to excessive pressure, pushing or pulling," the affidavit states. "The owners defended their current method of training for halter breaking and walking with a lead line."

The following day, the record states, Animal Services received a higher-quality video that led officers to believe the foal presented to them as the one seen in the video may not have been the same animal.

During a subsequent visit to the farm on Aug. 18, the affidavit states, officers counted 29 horses on the property and that same day the agency received four additional videos.

"The most concerning, due to their vulnerability, is the five foals on the property. ... Three of the foals have injuries that are consistent with the method of training used by the owners," Long wrote in requesting the warrant that a Cumberland County magistrate ultimately signed. "Due to the vulnerable age of the foals and the owners defending their current practice of training, Cumberland County Animal Services is requesting permission to seize the five foals on the property and two mares that are nursing two of the foals for imminent danger."

The foals, identified in the affidavit as Beth, Paisley, Opal, Faith and Spot, and the mares, Baby Momma and Dana, are in the custody of Animal Services, director Elaine Smith said last week . She said Animal Services officers were monitoring the remaining animals on the farm.

As of Friday, no charges had apparently been filed in the case.

F.T. Norton can be reached at .

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Three foals seized in Cumberland County showed signs of injury, affidavit states

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